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Duke Energy | Thursday, January 14, 2021

Duke Energy announced today it has deposited $5 million into Optus Bank, a Black-owned bank based in South Carolina, furthering the company's support for diverse and minority-owned businesses, individuals and low income communities. The transaction was completed at the end of 2020. This marks the largest deposit Duke Energy has made with a Black-owned bank in the U.S. and the company expects to evaluate additional similar opportunities in the future. And, this historic relationship expands Optus Bank's depositors to include the utility sector.

CNN Politics | Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Congress has made the Paycheck Protection Program more flexible and given priority to the smallest, hardest-hit businesses, but the long-awaited second round of loans will still serve as little more than a stopgap as the pandemic rages on. The lending program reopened to some lenders Monday, about three weeks after Congress passed the bill. During the first few days, only community financial institutions, which mostly work with very small and often minority-owned businesses, will be able to make loans. "It's not a silver bullet for smaller businesses. But they hopefully can get a bunch of their applications in before the system is overwhelmed," said Jeannine Jacokes, CEO of the Community Development Bankers Association.

American Banker | Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Program's soft launch received mixed reviews, creating uncertainty over when the portal will be open to all participating lenders. The Small Business Administration limited access on Monday to community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions and other mission-driven lenders, representing about a tenth of all the companies participating in the emergency loan program. “It’s a challenging situation for us,” said Robert James II, director of strategic initiatives at the $48.4 million-asset Carver Financial, a Black-owned bank in Savannah, Ga., that has yet to make any loans under the restart.

American Banker | Monday, January 4, 2021

City First Bank of D.C. and CEO Brian Argrett entered 2021 with lofty goals. The $394 million-asset bank is in the homestretch of completing a merger with Broadway Financial in Los Angeles that would create the nation’s biggest Black-led bank. The deal, scheduled to close in the first half of this year, comes at a time when more banks are focusing on addressing racial inequality. Argrett is one of American Banker’s five community bankers to watch this year.

New York Times | Monday, December 21, 2020

The stimulus package being negotiated in Washington includes $285 billion for a renewed Paycheck Protection Program. The bill includes other aid measures that are not specifically part of the Paycheck Protection Program but could nonetheless help many small businesses. This includes $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions, which make loans and grants to people and communities that are often unable to get traditional banks to do business with them. That amount of money would be transformational, said Jeannine Jacokes, the chief executive of the Community Development Bankers Association, a trade group for community financial institutions. “Every time we have a recession, low-income places are hit the hardest and are the last to recover,” Ms. Jacokes said. “Treasury is providing the capital for a long-term investment in these communities.”