The tax reform law enacted in late 2017 is already threatening to exacerbate the affordable housing crisis. The law is expected to eliminate 300,000 affordable housing units over 10 years, partly because it will reduce the value of banks' low-income tax credits, which finance half of all affordable housing units, according to a report by the nonprofit real estate firm NHP Foundation. Lowering the corporate tax rate reduces the value of the tax credits by roughly 15% because banks and partnerships that use the tax credits are limited in deductions on appreciating expenses.
In Portland, Oregon, a movement is building to establish a public bank. After debating divestment from companies whose practices might be harmful to people or the environment, the City Council voted in April to stop investing city money in all corporations. Portland is also one of the numerous US cities that decided to stop banking with Wells Fargo. "My hope is that a public bank wout be a profit-making institution, expect the profit would be for public purposes," said David Delk, of the Portland Public Banking Alliance. "The possibilities are limited really only by our imagination because the needs are so great."
A growing number of cities across the United States are considering launching city-owned public banks. Among these are Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and Washington DC. The Public Banking Institute, a national advocacy nonprofit, has been supporting these and many other campaigns. At the state level, New Jersey's governor-elect Phil Murphy, who spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs, has expressed interest in establishing a state public bank.
Amalgamated Bank in New York, which recently agreed to buy a West Coast institution, has big plans to operate in a number of major U.S. cities. Amalgamated, for its part, envisions becoming an institution with operations in other left-leaning cities such as Austin, Texas; Boston; and Chicago, said Keith Mestrich, the bank's president and CEO. Expansion could involve branches or acquisitions. Amalagamated Bank, alongside CDBA members Southern Bancorp, Sunrise Banks, and Beneficial State Bank, is a part of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values -- a group focused on reaching underserved populations.
Today the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) approved Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's Underserved Markets Plans for 2018-2020. Under the Duty to Serve (DTS) program, the FHFA required each Enterprise to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan that aims to increase the liquidity of mortgage financing to families with very low to moderate incomes in three underserved markets: rural housing; manufactured housing; and affordable housing preservation markets.
In this article, Carl Hairston, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at City First Bank, is interviewed by the Huffington Post on corporate social responsibility and the ideal framework for deepening company impact. "98% of bank deposits in DC are placed within 24 banks, and those 24 all make more investments outside of the DC market than they do within it," Hairston explained. "Our mission is to go to whatever prudent and reasonable lengths we can in order to help those individuals access the working capital they need for viable credit opportunities."
This week, the Board of Trustees for Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado approved the naming of the new First Southwest Bank Center for Economic Opportunity on campus. The center will open in January 2018 and will focus on community-based strategic planning and trainings to promote local business startups, thereby improving job creation, job retention, and local income levels. The University's expertise in business education and community partnerships will inform the project design and approach.
In this article, the American Banker discusses how OneUnited Bank in Boston has a plan to remain relevant while continuing to press for social justice. The nation's biggest black-owned bank has adopted a business model aimed at becoming a digitally-focused retail bank. It has scaled back its physical operations, closing a pair of branches in Los Angeles last year. It has also added thousands of ATMs that customers can access without a fee, and it plans to add Apple Pay to its menu of online services. The strategic shift comes at a critical time.
All Albina Community Bank branches are set to convert to Beneficial State Bank branches on February 1, 2018, after the two banks announced regulatory approval of their merger this week. Beneficial State, headquartered in Oakland, California, has owned a majority share of Albina in 2013, which it acquired in an effort to help stabilize the Portland-based bank after a period of industry turbulence. Three Albina members will join the Beneficial State board.
If Congress succeeds in passing regulatory relief, consumers in rural areas could soon find it easier to open accounts at banks and credit unions. Under a provision tucked into the Senate version of a regulatory relief bill that passed out of committee last week, financial institutions would be able to use a scan of a customer's driver's license or other photo identification to verify that person's identity when opening an account online. The Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy, or MOBILE, Act, is intended to address a patchwork of state-level restrictions concerning how state-issued photo IDs may be copied or used.