Carver State Bank
Carver State Bank has been a vital part of the Savannah, GA community since it was founded as the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation in 1927. The mission of Carver State Bank is to maintain a sound, profitable, growing institution by providing high-quality products and services for the Bank's customers, especially those in it's targeted communities.
Two CDBA member bankers were featured on NPR's Marketplace program in late February. Robert James II, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Carver State Bank, was on the February 22 program to discuss hiring at black-owned banks and the Paycheck Protection Program rollout. Dominik Mjartan, President and CEO at Optus Bank, was on the February 24 program to discuss small business recovery during the pandemic.
Black-owned businesses were among the last to receive paycheck protection loans last year. Now, some businesses are turning to banks that specialize in working with Black and brown customers. Carver State Bank, was founded 94 years ago with a goal of building financial freedom for its African American customers. Eighty percent of its loans go to Black-owned businesses. Robert James, who sits on the bank's board, says he received PPP applications from around the country, most looking for less than $50,000.
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.