Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares Inc. has committed $40 billion toward a plan designed to improve financial opportunities for clients and communities across its footprint, with a focus on affordable housing, small business loans and increased capital to historically disadvantaged and low- to moderate-income areas. After meeting with 400 community organizations, the bank identified racial and social equity, consumer and home lending, small business and community development lending and investing as key areas of need in its expanded 2021 community plan, according to a news release. The bank said it will also place special emphasis on environmental equity initiatives and will talk with leaders to develop programs addressing environmental health challenges faced by under-resourced communities.
Top regulators and leading Democrats at a June 15 conference emphasized their commitment to increasing financial services access for the underbanked and supporting minority depository institutions, or MDIs. Heads of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency attended the conference hosted by Georgetown Law and the Black Economic Alliance, commemorating Juneteenth. Both leading regulators expressed a desire to stay committed to closing wealth gaps and addressing racial inequity through the banking system. Top Democrats in Congress also spoke at the conference about their own efforts to address inequality, including a renewed call for public banking. On a related note, the FDIC on June 15 approved a final policy statement to help promote minority-owned banks
A long-time Jackson resident, Penny Lee has lived in her current home for more than 20 years. But over time, the home where she consistently hosted her family began to need repairs she couldn't afford. The roof leaked, porch rails were broken and there were holes in the walls from years of grandchildren playing within the home. Miss Lee had handymen patch things until a $7,000 Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) subsidy from BankPlus and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) funded more substantial repairs including a new roof, trim, porch railings and repairs to interior walls. “FHLB Dallas offers many programs that help us make a meaningful impact on our neighbors and communities,” said Mark Ouellette, first vice president and director of affordable housing at BankPlus. “The SNAP subsidy enabled Miss Lee to make several needed improvements to her home.”
The Climate Safe Lending Network in partnership with the Finance Innovation Lab are pleased to announce that applications for the Climate Safe Lending Fellowship are now open. The Climate Safe Lending Fellowship is a six-month leadership program for banking professionals who are advancing the climate agenda within their institutions. Right now, banks are faced with the enormous opportunity and urgent challenge of financing a just transition to a net-zero carbon future. This requires leadership from within to transform strategy, operations and culture in service of a climate safe world. The Climate Safe Lending Fellowship provides structured support for climate advocates inside banks to build their knowledge, confidence and skills to lead this transformation. The Fellowship program is for banking professionals committed to embedding climate action at the heart of their institutions - regardless of role, function or seniority - and whether working to accelerate climate action through their day job or side-of-desk. Selected Fellows will journey together in a pre-competitive, collaborative cohort between October 2021 - March 2022. They will leave the program more confident and grounded, and will have gained new insights and practical tools to accelerate organizational transformation. Fellows will also benefit from peer-coaching and tailored support, and will build a trusted network of stakeholders across and beyond banking.
Someday soon, if not today, you may be able to find a banking platform that's designed specifically for you and those like you. A growing number of banks and fintechs are using digital banking platforms to meet the unique challenges and needs of individual communities. There are banks and fintechs that offer banking platforms for Black Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled Americans, doctors, freelancers—the list goes on. Some of these institutions are newcomers on the scene. Others have been around for decades but are now able to leverage digital technology to help their communities and drive real financial change. “That’s what’s important about digital banking,” says Kevin Cohee, chairman and chief executive officer of OneUnited Bank. “Yes, it offers all of these very important benefits to consumers to make their lives easier and to make them better stewards of their money—it certainly does that—but the big deal is this changing our overall society,” he says.
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc. in Little Rock, Ark., has been appointed to the board of directors of the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Williams will fill the unexpired portion of a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2023. Members of the St. Louis Fed's board of directors and those of its branch boards in Little Rock, Ark., Louisville, Ky., and Memphis, Tenn., are familiar with the economic and credit conditions of their respective regions. Their observations—along with the economic data and information gathered and analyzed by St. Louis Fed staff—help ensure that conditions of Main Street America are represented in Federal Open Market Committee deliberations in Washington, D.C.
Sunrise Banks is proud to introduce the NextGen Banker podcast, which will launch its first episode on Monday, June 14. Hosted by Sunrise CEO David Reiling, NextGen Banker focuses on the future of finance in a world that's increasingly tech- and values-driven. Reiling will talk with the changemakers leading the way to a more equitable, environmentally conscious and transparent banking future. The show will be hosted by Provoke FM, which is also home to the Breaking Banks podcast, and will air twice a month. Find NextGen Banker on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and everywhere else you get your podcasts.
OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank and first and only Black-owned digital bank in the country, is proud to announce its OneTransaction Conference. The free state-of the art virtual financial conference is focused on closing the racial wealth gap and will be held on June 19, 2021 or Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Over 20,000 have already registered for the conference. The #OneTransaction Campaign encourages Black families to select One Transaction to accomplish in 2021 and provides action steps to accomplish that transaction. “The reality is the racial wealth gap for each family can be closed by one strategic transaction,” says Kevin Cohee, Chairman & CEO of OneUnited Bank. “By encouraging our community to accomplish One Transaction in 2021, we can make financial literacy a core value of the Black community and create generational wealth.”
New Orleans bankers plan to buy Tri-State Bank, ending the Memphis firm's 75-year run as the city's high-profile Black-owned bank. Liberty Bank and Trust Co., the nation's third largest Black-owned bank, and Tri-State released a statement Thursday night disclosing the proposed deal. Regulators and Tri-State shareholders must approve the merger for the deal to proceed. Tri-State, founded in 1946 by insurance executives, stood out as a bank smoothing the way for Black Americans during the period of integration in the 1960s and 1970s but struggled in later decades as a Downtown-oriented bank. Tri-State cut back on its all-important church lending as middle-class wage gains stagnated, Black residents dispersed to neighborhoods throughout the city distant from Downtown, new bus routes bypassed its Main Street location, and many Black families shifted to banking with bigger institutions.
Creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace is the right thing to do — and research shows it's good for business. These leaders have championed DEI in their organization as CEOs, chief diversity officers and VPs, operations and human resource directors and as advocates and volunteers. They've done the work to help people have uncomfortable conversations, implemented creative and effective trainings and focused on equity and justice in their communities. Included is Kenneth Kelly, Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank.