Be inquisitive and never stop learning. Those were two pieces of advice Bob Jones, CEO and President of United Bank, shared with Harbert College of Business students on Monday, October 14. "Things change so quickly that what you learn today, by the time you get into the workplace, it's going to be dramatically different. If you think you know it all, and you stop, it's going to blow by you in a heartbeat." United Bank is a full-service community bank in Atmore that serves southwest Alabama, and parts of the Florida Panhandle. Jones, a former accountant and U.S. Navy veteran who holds a degree from the Harbert College of Business, became United Bank's CEO in 1992. He discussed the merits of community banks, community development, learning to evolve professionally, and what he considers "credibility capital" (earning trust and respect).
The CDFI Fund and BCT Partners are excited to announce that registration is now open for the "Expanding the Capacity of CDFIs to Serve People with Disabilities" in-person trainings in Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA. "Access for All" is a training and technical assistance series offered through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund's (CDFI Fund) Capacity Building Initiative to increase the impact and reach of CDFIs in support of the economic development goals of people with disabilities. Through the "Access for All" series, the CDFI Fund will endeavor to increase the number of CDFIs serving individuals with disabilities and, ultimately, increase the impact and reach of CDFIs in the disability community. The training will be provided by BCT Partners in partnership with a team of disability and CDFI experts.
The StoryBank Project is a CDBA initiative to capture success stories of our member banks. These stories show how underserved communities benefit directly from mission-based banking and financial services. Our latest video highlights Metro Bank in Louisville, Kentucky. Their client, Kidwell's Auto Beautification, employs dozens of community members, including formerly incarcerated people. Another client, Omni Medical Center, was given a loan by Metro Bank to serve underserved areas of Louisville.
In 2016, Fahe, a regional Network, financial intermediary, and CDFI, received $50 million in loan awards from the USDA Community Facilities Relending Program to pursue its mission: ending persistent poverty in Appalachia. Among its numerous initiatives, Fahe sought to build several community facilities, including daycare and opioid-addiction rehabilitation centers. However, borrowers may not use awards for construction projects. The timing was also sensitive, as these USDA funds must be drawn by September 30, 2021. Fahe needed construction money, and it turned to Virginia Community Capital to accomplish its goals.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger announced the appointment of members to the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC), Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC), and Academic Research Council (ARC). These experts advise Bureau leadership on a broad range of consumer financial issues and emerging market trends. Valerie Quiett, SVP and Chief Legal Officer at M&F Bank in Durham NC, was named to the CBAC.
The idea of investing with a social purpose is gaining ground. The broad category of sustainable and responsible investing grew 38 percent in the United States from 2016 to the start of 2018, to $12 trillion in assets under management, according to the US SIF Foundation. That represented one out of every four dollars of the $46.6 trillion under management, the group noted. A wide range of investments were held, including mutual funds, annuities, E.T.F.s and closed-end funds. Morningstar reported that 2018 marked the third consecutive year of record flows into sustainable funds; the number of sustainable funds also jumped nearly 50 percent. So far, most sustainable investments are held by institutional and high-net-worth investors. Negligible amounts are held in workplace retirement plans.
Virginia Community Capital will host the 2019 Learning Exchange at the Science Museum of Virginia on December 11. This year's Learning Exchange, themed "What's Next", will feature five different speakers delivering a TED-style talk lasting no more than 12 minutes each on trends impacting our communities such as housing, impact investing, technology, and clean energy. The Learning Exchange's main goal is to provide frameworks/ideas the statewide audience can easily digest and apply to their unique communities. These ideas tend to challenge conventional thinking, offer tools and resources, and bring innovative perspectives to Virginia's communities.
BankPlus and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas presented a check for $8,000 to Lauderdale County Habitat for Humanity to create a marketing plan and website. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that provides housing for low-income working families. The agency has put 78 families in homes over the last 30 years in Lauderdale County. The organization does not have a website, but uses Facebook and Instagram to connect with the community. The website will be used to promote the organization, to collect donations and as a place for volunteers to sign up.
AB 857, which creates a legal pathway in California for public banks owned by city and county governments where cities and counties would deposit public dollars, was recently passed by the California Assembly. The governor has until October 13 to sign it into law. Progress on public banks in California will be closely watched in other states and cities where organizers and public officials have been pushing for public banks — including Washington State, New Mexico, Michigan, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, the Twin Cities, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere. Inspired by the state-owned Bank of North Dakota (until recently the only public bank operating in the U.S.), proponents of AB 857 envision a statewide network of public banks that would leverage local public deposits in support of public policy priorities like affordable housing and homeownership, clean energy and climate adaptation, small business lending, alternatives to payday loans, and other priorities that public banking advocates feel are too important to leave entirely up to privately owned banks.
The New York Fed unveiled a new tool—the Credit Insecurity Index—to provide policymakers and the broader public with a more comprehensive measure of credit access and community credit health. Unlike other metrics that focus on residents without a credit file or score, the Credit Insecurity Index also includes individuals who may have credit files but are limited in their ability to borrow at affordable terms due to blemishes on their records. A new series of reports—Unequal Access to Credit: The Hidden Impact of Credit Constraints—offers in-depth analysis using the new index, including potential policy applications.