The US Department of the Treeasury has released recommendations to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The recomendations were issued to the primary CRA regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The objective of the recommendations it to better align CRA activity with the needs of the communities that banks serve, while being conducted in a manner consistent with a bank's safety and soundness.
Industry representatives, analysts, and consumer advocates have all praised the Treasury report recommending a slew of CRA reforms that could serve as a jumping off point for regulators twho seem poised to update their decades-old policy. In this Article, the American banker provides five key takeaways from the Treasury report, which has been dubbed "an astonishingly progressive set of recommendations" by Federal Financial Analytics.
Lower-income neighborhoods are plagued by disproportionately fewer bank branches, prompting some residents to turn to high-cost alternatives to obtain capital. Advocates say there is a viable option to help fill the void. In Buffalo, NY, some legislators are calling for the state to allocate $25 million to support CDFIs. "We want to see a statewide investment, an affirmative policy where the state is committing to support institutions that share this mission to serve low-income communities," said Andy Morrison, campaigns director for the New Economy Project. The small number of bank branches in low-income areas, he argues, underscores the need for state funding.
John Williams will move from the San Francisco Fed to take on the pivotal New York Federal Reserve president's position. Long rumored for the job, Williams will exit the president's post he held in San Francisco since 2011. As head of the New York district, he will oversee the important trading desk that helps set the Fed's key funds rate used as a benchmark for multiple types of consumer and bank debt. The appoitment comes with the Fed in the middle of some key operations in carrying out its mandate of skipping the economy at full employment and stabilizing inflation.
It has been 50 years since Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a landmark law passed in the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination that banned discriminatory practices in housing. However, homeownership remains elusive for African Americans. Since the financial crisis, the average homeownership rate has fallen below 64%, not much higher than it was in the 1960s. While every racial demographic suffered as a result of the housing collapse, none suffered more than African Americans.
Black Americans experience dramatically lower upward mobility than white Americans do -- a difference that appears to be driven largely by significant economic disadvantages among black men. This conclusion comes from a groundbreaking study that combines Census Bureau data on race with IRS tax returns, which allows economists to track individuals' earnings over many years and tie them to their parents' earnings. The study compares intergenerational mobility, the degree to which children exceed or fall behind their parents economically, across different racial groups. This article from Vox highlights a few major takeaways from the new research.
The plight of the unbanked in the US' poorest regions is a modern-day scandal in the world's richest nation. This article highlights the work of Southern Bancorp as it seeks to address the problem. In a region that has become a financial desert, where banks have left or refuse to lend to the community because of rigid credit policies from headquarters many states away, Southern Bancorp has breathed life into the small-town communities of Arkansas and Mississippi. In 50% of its locations, it is either the only bank or one of two.
Fifty years after the riots that followed the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Washington Post tells the story of Industrial Bank, a black-owned bank in Washington, DC that was founded during the Great Depression and survived the riots. Doyle Mitchell Jr., President and CEO, and his sister, Patricia Mitchell, are interviewed about the bank's history, mission, and survival. Before the riots, the bank cultivated a large and dedicated customer base. In the 50 years of operation since the riots, the bank has continued to grow, benefiting from a resergence along the U Street corridor that was once devastated by the unrest. "The city's population is increasing by almost 1,000 people a month. There is new development and housing going up," Doyle Mitchell said. "For our bank, the future is very bright."
The historic Brookfield Building, once home to the administrative offices of Fairfax Municipal Airport in Kansas, was named as one of the most dangerous buildings in Kansas City after years of neglect. The space has been renovated and now houses a boutique hotel and residential space in the heart of Kansas City. Central Bank of Kansas City was a major player in the development of the 118-room hotel and 27 adjoined residential units.
First Independence Bank chairman & CEO Kenneth Kelly has been appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. The council is comprised of 12 members who are industry leaders across the Midwest, currently representing portions of the five states in the Seventh Federal Reserve District – Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. Chairman Kelly will serve a three-year term on the council from 2018-2020. “I am grateful to be appointed to the Advisory Council to provide insight into our economy in Michigan and the current banking landscape,” said Kelly.