Amalgamated Bank yesterday announced that Keith Mestrich has informed the Board of Directors that he will step down from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer on January 31, 2021. At that time, he will transition from a director to special advisor to the Board through July 2021. Mr. Mestrich joined Amalgamated Bank in 2012 and has served as its President and Chief Executive Officer since 2014. The Board has formed a Search Committee comprised of Lynne Fox, Chair of the Board, and four independent directors to oversee a national search process for a new CEO.
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are closing for good. Temporary layoffs at larger companies are becoming permanent. But the country's largest banks, which together serve a majority of Americans through loans, credit cards or deposit services, are not raising an alarm. In their third-quarter earnings reports this week, big banks have said they are generally prepared for a wave of loan defaults they expect in the second half of next year. And their own fortunes are just fine: A trading and investment banking bonanza on Wall Street is helping them stay profitable. A few common themes have emerged from the reports.
Kat Taylor started a bank, a venture capital firm and an agribusiness to use capitalism’s toolbox to fight systemic racism, environmental destruction and economic inequality. Way back in 2007 (the stone age in impact investing), Taylor and Steyer launched an idea they’d talked about for years: use a charitable foundation to start a bank that would lend to nonprofits and do-gooder businesses and direct its profits back to their environmental and community charitable causes. With Taylor as CEO, Beneficial State Bank has grown into a $1.1 billion institution with 13 branches stretching from Washington to Southern California.
First Southwest Bank was awarded Community/Rural Lender of the Year by the Colorado Small Business Administration during their virtual conference for National Small Business Week. Sherry Waner, FSWB's Chief Development Officer, accepted the award on behalf of the bank. Examples of rural businesses across the state that FSWB has helped through SBA loans include GEOMAT, Phoenix Recycling, Espinoza Consulting Services, Agile Space Industries, Chinook Medical Gear and Ace Towing. During the ongoing small business impacts of COVID-19, First Southwest Bank has completed 805 Paycheck Protection Program loans through the SBA to small businesses across Colorado to date.
The federal government is cracking down on alleged fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program. The Justice Department recently filed nearly 60 charges involving what it says are attempts to bilk over $175 million out of the program. Meanwhile, legitimate borrowers are working to get their loans forgiven. Now the government’s dilemma is whether to make it easy to get a PPP loan forgiven. One idea is automatically forgiving loans under $150,000, a provision of the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act that’s been introduced to the Senate. Robert James II at Carver State Bank in Georgia said that would help the bank avoid collecting on risky loans. “If the government makes it onerous and difficult for customers to get the loans forgiven, then we’re gonna really have a very unstable, potentially harmful asset on our books,” James said.