Americans seem to be managing their debt well. However, some warning signs, such as an increasing Money Anxiety Index, have appeared in recent months. The Index, developed by Analyticom's Dr. Dan Geller, measures consumer saving and spending habits with the philosophy that consumer behavior may predict economic downturn. And now, the Index appears to be foreseeing another drop. "We are in an economic slowdown," says Geller, who argues banks will need to monitor consumer behavioral trends, like the type of accounts customers use and the spending choices they make, in order to stay afloat. Geller offers further insights in this interview with American Banker.
JPMorgan Chase is partnering with The Harbor Bank of Maryland as part of The Financial Agent Mentor Protégé program sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The mentor program enlists large banks that currently serve as Financial Agents to the Treasury to mentor small, highly capable banks. This program helps prepare the new generation of financial institutions to succeed in responding to the dynamic and diverse challenges that arise when working with the Treasury. "We're excited about the opportunity to help black-owned community banks expand their capabilities through this program," said Eva Robinson, Head of Treasury Services Public Sector Sales for North America, J.P. Morgan.
Fifteen years ago, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing the month of April as a time to "highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits." However, research may now suggest that such programs may not be that impactful. Moreover, for many people the issue is not lack of financial knowledge, but rather the conditions of extreme inequality and income volatility that keep them down. The reality is, people who have money woes tend to already be keenly aware of their problems. For this reason, Jennifer Tescher, CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, argues that we need more than uplifting content to guide people back to financial health.
Banking has radically changed in recent years with technology giving rise to mostly virtual, impersonal interactions. However, community banks, and their characteristic personal touch, are still vitally important to many across the nation. And they should be, because even though they are traditionally smaller banks, they make up a staggering 92 percent of all banks in the nation. So what is it about these institutions that make them so popular? Here, Abrigo's Kylee Wooten seeks to answer that question in five ways.
The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund was created under the Clinton Administration, but its roots are much deeper than that. No one knows those roots better than Clifford Rosenthal, who recently completed "Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement," a 556-page history of mission-driven lending and investing in the United States. "What is totally unique about the CDFI Fund in policy history is that it provides capital — not loans, but discretionary capital — to build your balance sheet," says Rosenthal.
Earlier this month, Next City and CDBA member Community Bank of the Bay joined forces to host the annual Spaces and Places conference. This event, designed as an "unconference," intends to shine a light on community development issues affecting communities of color. These are issues often ignored by urban planners and design communities, but are nonetheless in dire need of attention. This year's workshop explored collective and cooperative power, affordability in housing, homelessness, climate change displacement and environmental justice, and the needs of black cultural districts. The recorded stream of the event is available here.
The recent #BankBlack social media campaign has brought black banking back into the national consciousness. The movement has inspired thousands of people across the country to transfer or deposit millions of dollars into black-owned banks for the first time. With this support, black-owned banks invest in urban communities, employ African Americans, and inspire black home ownership. For those considering making the change, here is a list of 13 banks to consider, including CDBA members United Bank, Industrial Bank, Harbor Bank of Maryland, Broadway Federal Bank, OneUnited Bank, Carver State Bank, First Independence Bank, GN Bank, and Metro Bank.
This month, South Carolina Community Bank officially changed its name to Optus Bank. The bank will also complete its conversion to a new core banking system and upgraded products and services on May 13th. The new brand is designed to highlight progress made by the bank, which was removed last March from the FDIC's troubled bank list. In 2018, the bank realized its first year of profitability and growth in 10 years, according to a news release from Optus. "We purposefully delayed the name change until the bank was healthy, profitable and able to deliver on our brand promise," said Optus president and CEO Dominik Mjartan. "The progress we made in 2018 positions us to fully live our new brand."
At first glance, a "video teller" installed in New Hebron may seem more impersonal than a traditional bank branch. However, for Peoples Bank this new bit of technology has allowed bankers to personally interact with a whole new set of customers. The machine, stationed in a location far from a physical branch, allows customers to live video chat with a real teller at another nearby Peoples Bank location. "We typically have two to three different employees who are serving that role as a live teller," said Ashley M. Jones, vice president of marketing. "The tellers on our end are enjoying the relationship that they have established...And for our customers, it is always nice to see a familiar face on the other end. It is comforting."
Washington, DC's historic U Street has served a long tenure as the vibrant heart of African American culture and entrepreneurship in the city. And after countless historical turning points and ensuing riots, three black-owned businesses have weathered decades-long hurdles to offer a glimpse into the tight-knit community and bustling neighborhood as it once stood. Ben's Chili Bowl, Lee's Flower Shop and CDBA member Industrial Bank all opened their doors in the mid-1900s and are still run by the second, third, and fourth generations of the same families. They maintain tight, intertwining bonds as they've grown and endured challenges on U Street over the years.