A half-century ago, the federal government set out to attack the racial wealth gap by supporting Black-owned banks. Policy makers hoped the banks would lend to Black communities sidelined by the mainstream financial system. But five decades of federal financial and regulatory support have failed to boost America's Black-owned banks. The majority have disappeared under the burden of soured loans, bigger competitors created by mergers and financial downturns that hit small lenders hard. Fifteen years ago America had 36 Black-owned banks, government data show. Now there are 18. Now a new generation of entrepreneurs, companies and regulators is trying a different strategy. They are promising to strengthen Black-owned banks by building up their capital with private investments and giving them new ways to earn money with hundreds of millions in big corporate deposits. Their hope is that this approach will ultimately improve Black communities’ access to capital. CDBA Members Optus Bank, Broadway Federal Bank, and City First Bank of DC are featured in the article.
When COVID-19 hit, Spring Bank responded by supporting their small business and nonprofit partners when they needed it most. Hours after the CARES Act passed in April of this year, their lending team got to work to assist organizations with their applications for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan. Spring Bank is proud to report that as of this month, they secured 360 PPP loans–valued at $86.8 million–for small businesses and nonprofits in the New York City area. With these funds, organizations retained over 5,000 jobs.
The Federal Reserve is lowering the minimum loan size for its middle-market business rescue program by more than half to make the program more available to smaller businesses. The central bank said Friday that small businesses seeking credit from the Main Street Lending Program can access loans as small as $100,000, down from the previous cutoff of $250,000, and that fees will be adjusted accordingly. The $600 billion program, which is funded by the Fed and the Treasury Department through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, is available to businesses with fewer than 15,000 employees or less than $5 billion in annual revenue.
Adecade ago, in the last economic crisis, mainstream banks abandoned Dianna Bowser and the Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation, where she's executive director. Founded in 1988, the nonprofit builds homes and provides counseling for first-time homeowners in and around Richmond, Virginia. ut that’s when Bowser first encountered Virginia Community Capital, a relatively new bank at the time. The bank stepped in to finance a major construction project for her organization. It has an unusual nonprofit ownership structure, a mission to serve underserved or disinvested communities, and startup capital that came from the state instead of private investors like most banks. The relationship has grown ever since.
Promontory recently rebranded itself with a pithier name: IntraFi Network. The new name is meant to reflect the company's core mission of partnering with banks and to help it grow and move beyond the service for which it's best known: reciprocal deposits. The company built a system that enables depositors — such as municipal departments, public schools and high-net-worth individuals — to hold large sums with their primary institution without losing Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage. IntraFi parcels out balances that exceed the $250,000 FDIC limit to other banks within the network. This service also helps community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions gather the capital they need to lend to underserved communities. Customers keep their relationship with their own bank and don't know that IntraFi is involved. Bill Dana, vice chairman of the $261.5 million-asset Central Bank of Kansas City in Missouri, notes that it’s difficult for CDFIs to attract high-balance depositors. “You’re serving a low- to moderate-income community, so by definition there are not a lot of deposit dollars available in your marketplace.”
The Solar Lending Professional Training - Virtual Series is designed for community-based lending practitioners who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the fundamentals of solar finance and increasing their organization's activity in individual consumer and/or community commercial-level financing. These trainings will cover the knowledge, skills and practices you need to engage in solar lending, including market assessment, product development, working with solar installers and developers, underwriting and deal structuring, and program and asset management. We will include additional content on providing solar finance to underserved borrowers to lend deeper into your community. All CDFIs, including banks, are welcome to join.
This year has certainly tested bank executives' ability to manage during a crisis. Apart from dealing with the myriad of business challenges thrown at them by the coronavirus pandemic, they are trying to maintain morale of employees, many of whom are working remotely and coping with stresses of their own. This year American Banker asked executives at the 85 institutions that make up our ranking of the Best Banks to Work For to reveal how they have kept employees engaged and motivated in this most difficult of years. Included on this list are FNBC Bank, BankPlus, and United Bank.
Last month, Bank of America announced that it had completed 10 new equity investments as part of its 4-year $1 billion commitment to advance racial equality in economic opportunity. Of BoA's 10 equity investments, 6 were to CDBA member banks: Carver State Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank, First Independence Bank, M&F Bank, Southern Bancorp, and Optus Bank. These investments will facilitate benefits across multiple states and in the communities that these institutions serve through lending, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and other banking services.
A community development bank in Arkadelphia, Ark., that raised nearly $35 million could be a model for a growing number of similar banks scrounging for capital to meet the needs of consumers and small businesses in struggling neighborhoods. Central to the strategy of the $1.6 billion-asset Southern Bancorp is a heavy emphasis on returning capital to investors through regular dividends and a stock repurchase program. "There's patient capital, but patient shouldn't mean permanent," CEO Darrin Williams said in an interview after the bank recently published a paper about its successful capital raise late last year.
The proportion of U.S. households without access to a bank account fell in recent years but could be driven up again by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Monday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The so-called unbanked rate declined to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, as some 1.5 million households saw at least one member open a checking or savings account, the FDIC said in the biennial report. That rate represents the lowest level since at least 2009, when the survey began. Most of the decline reflected improvement in the circumstances of households that didn’tpreviously have bank accounts, the FDIC said. Unemployment is strongly correlated withlack of access to banking services and had fallen to 50-year lows before the pandemic sent the U.S. economy reeling this year.