Low-income, less-educated, and minority households are less likely to have bank accounts—which are essential for households' financial well-being. People have cited high fees, minimum balance requirements, and other reasons why they don't have bank accounts. Federal agencies have worked to increase banking access. For example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation piloted a public awareness campaign on the benefits of bank accounts. Are these agencies' efforts working? Many of the agencies don't know—so we recommended developing performance measures for these efforts to help determine how effective they are.
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury launched a historic demographic information collection effort to measure equity outcomes for small businesses supported by the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. The information collected by Treasury will support the program's commitment to expanding access to capital for businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI businesses). The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included $10 billion for SSBCI to provide to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments for programs that help small businesses access capital, including $2.5 billion in allocations to support SEDI businesses. SSBCI will provide recipient jurisdictions funding for a range of programs that will increase access to credit for small businesses, including through lending and equity capital investments, to help businesses grow in the years ahead. Treasury's implementation of the SSBCI program is designed to expand access to capital, promote economic resiliency, and create new jobs and economic opportunity.
Savannah's Carver State Bank celebrated a huge milestone this weekend - its 95th anniversary! To mark the special occasion, they showed a documentary called Financial Freedom for All: Robert James and Carver State Bank. The film honors and recognizes the bank's President and CEO, Robert James, who began his career at the bank in 1971. 50 years later, he is the longest tenured Black bank president in the country. "We are proud of the fact that we have survived through all of the difficulties that financial institutions have had over the years. All the changes and the technologies and markets but Carver has managed to survive. And I think that we survived because we've had consistency of leadership and consistency of purpose," James said.
OneUnited Bank, the largest Black owned bank, announces the opening of its new state of the art branch in Compton, California on February 28, 2022. The Bank is excited to honor its roots and renew its long-term commitment to the City of Compton. OneUnited Bank was forced to close its Compton branch in March 2020 after its landlord refused to renew its long-term lease to open a national chain sneaker store. Like many Black owned businesses that are displaced due to gentrification, the Bank was forced to either permanently close or relocate. Although the Bank considered permanently closing as more customers move to digital banking, its commitment to its Compton customers and the Compton community resulted in the decision to relocate. The new branch, located at 1495 N. Wilmington Avenue, Compton CA 90022, is less than 2 miles from the previous branch location.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (hereafter, the agencies) are issuing an interagency statement to remind creditors of the ability under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Regulation B to establish special purpose credit programs to meet the credit needs of specified classes of persons. Many financial institutions have publicly committed billions of dollars to better meet the needs of underserved communities, and the statement calls attention to the special purpose credit options under ECOA and Regulation B. CDBA submitted a comment letter on this topic in December of 2020.
It took more than a decade for Southern Bancorp Bank to double its tally of total assets from $1 billion to $2 billion. The top executive of the bank's parent company expects the journey to $4 billion will be much shorter. "With the amount of capital we're going to receive, we will double in size during the next three to five years," said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc. A big catalyst for that future growth is a $237.5 million injection courtesy of the U.S. Treasury's Emergency Capital Investment Program. The money isn't in the bank but is expected to arrive in the second or third quarter. "That will give us the capital bandwidth to work for quite awhile," Williams said. The money will double Southern Bancorp's capital base and position the Arkadelphia bank to accelerate expansion of its $1.2 billion loan portfolio. Under the ECIP, a maximum investment of $250 million was possible, but Williams isn't complaining.
What does a zero carbon, climate-focused community bank look like? FinTech Futures spoke to Climate First Bank's founder, Ken LaRoe, and CTO, Marcio deOliveira, about the US entrant's ethos, technology, and plans, including its mixed views on fintechs. The climate crisis is only too apparent in Climate First Bank’s home state of Florida, with the threat of ever increasing storms and super-charged hurricanes, sea level rises, and record-breaking heat days, among other climate impacts. The bank claims to have been carbon neutral since day one, commits to never investing in extractive industries, and makes every decision through the lens of achieving Drawdown.
LOCUS is seeking a Senior Analyst to join its growing Investment Advisory team. LOCUS is a national organization with staff in Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. This position is remote/home-office-based with limited travel related to team gatherings and/or client visits. LOCUS' Investment Advisory team provides services that enable its clients to make effective and efficient impact investments, including fund design & development, investment sourcing & evaluation, and portfolio management & servicing. This Senior Analyst will primarily support the Fund Management business line, which helps LOCUS clients create, deploy, and manage impact investing vehicles. Additionally, this Senior Analyst will support the Transaction Services business line, which provides structuring, due diligence, and underwriting services for specific impact investments. This position, and these business lines, are critical to the success of LOCUS. Click "read more" for a full description of the post and application instructions.
Unions are rare in financial services, but there are exceptions, including Amalgamated Bank in New York, which was founded by a labor union in 1923. The $870 million-asset Bank of Labor in Kansas City, Kansas, was founded by a labor union in 1924 and has been affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America since August 2011. A more recent example is Beneficial State Bank in Oakland, California, where employees voted to form a union in March 2020 after CWA representatives approached the $1.5 billion-asset bank’s executives about the possibility of forming a labor organization for staff. The bank agreed upon a finalized contract last September. “I think the biggest thing was that people [were] not being listened to and our experiences not taken into account on how to be treated,” said Michelle Hunt, a relationship banker at Beneficial. After signing, the bank instituted changes in its minimum wage, training, retirement programs and more. It also created a labor-management committee to give union members a forum for voicing concerns and suggesting changes.
Why minority professionals are often directed to community development jobs, rather than the more lucrative commercial real estate and private-equity fields. Community development has provided good-paying jobs to minority professionals at banks and nonprofits, such as CDFIs. But can it build broader breakout generational wealth, which is mostly possible at the developer level? And are there even enough people of color in those developer ranks to carry out the work? With access to capital such an impediment, large numbers of minority developers and entrepreneurs aren't lining up to rebuild the neighborhoods, experts say.