If you live in rural America and have a heart attack — or stroke — you may be in really big trouble. Over 30 million Americans live more than an hour's drive from a trauma center and an estimated 673 rural hospitals are at risk of closure, exemplifying a nationwide trend that threatens rural health care access. Yet an amazing thing happened at Monroe County Hospital in Monroeville, Ala. In 2017, it received a $6 million capital injection to renovate and expand its emergency room and oncology department thanks to a small, but potently impactful, federal program called the New Markets Tax Credit.
Senatobia, a town 8,000 in the Mississippi Delta, is on the rise. This article highlights the beneficial presence of Sycamore Bank, whose main branch is located in Senatobia. "Even though we are a community bank, we offer a full suite of financial services that compete with anyone, even the megabanks," said CEO Jay Tindall. "And unlike the megabanks, all our decisions are made locally and by the people that greet you when you walk in the door."
The House of Representatives has passed a tax bill that would do away with the New Markets Tax Credit next year. Banks and other proponents have urged Congress to make the NMTC permanent, as it spurs economic development in low-income communities nationwide by awarding roughly $3.5 billion in annual tax credits to investors in commercial developments.
The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) combines seven complementary metrics into a broad-based assessment of community economic well-being in the United States. The 2017 DCI finds that 52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities, with over half residing in the South. Distressed communities exist in red states and blue states: 36.4 million constituents inside distressed zip codes are represented by the Republican party at multiple governments, and 16 million constituents inside distressed zip codes are represented by the Democratic party.
The Community Investment Explorer is a new tool to analyze community development transactions over the past 30 years. The data, sortable by year, investment purpose, and metropolitan area, comes from 3 sources: the work of CDFIs, New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). "We know there [are] a lot of groups, be it affordable housing, developers, CDFIs, tax credit investors, in addition to policymakers, interested in this information and to see the stories this data tells," said a community development specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, was recently interviewed on the Your Mark on the World Podcast, and the footage is featured on Forbes. Williams discussed his bank's mission and strategy, saying, "Often our competition is not another bank; [it is] a payday lender or pawn shop, or someone who provides alternative forms of capital or credit that really strip wealth. So we really do a lot of outreach. We don't wait for people to come to the bank. We take the bank to them."
American Banker takes a look at the challenges facing the nation's black-run banks, including Carver Federal Savings Bank in New York. Many of the top challenges facing Carver are facing other community banks, including rising compliance costs, pressure to scale bank on commercial real estate, and an uphill battle to keep pace with technology. "There have been many, many things that the team and I are proud of, and there's no place I would have wanted to have been for the past five years," Pugh said. "Certainly some things I wish would have had a different outcome, but the journey continues for us."
The First, A National Banking Association, has agreed to buy Sunshine Financial in Tallahassee, FL. The First will pay $32.1 million in cash and stock for the $194 million-asset parent of Sunshine Community Bank. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. The acquisition will provide the First with five branches in Tallahassee. "Sunshine is well-known in Tallahassee as a customer-focused organization that delivers exemplary service," said The First CEO Hoppy Cole. "Tallahassee is ... a natural extension of our strategic vision to build market share in the Florida panhandle."
This article features Sunrise Banks' innovative approach to banking underserved customers. CEO David Reilling is interviewed about how Sunrise Banks was founded, where it is headed, and how he built the brand from the inside out. "The key is to meet customers where they are at, whether it's on Facebook or at the local coffee shop," he said. "In the end, it's all about developing a trusted relationship."
On November 6, 2017 the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee began the markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. If passed, this legislation as currently drafted would effectively eliminate the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, which has been widely recognized as one of the most effective Federal programs to create jobs and promote small business in distressed rural and urban communities. The NMTC Program works to break the cycle of disinvestment in low-income communities by attracting the private investment necessary to reinvigorate struggling local economies. For every $1 of federal funding, the Program generates $8 of private investment.