The Crichlow family had been renting their modest home in North Miami for about 20 years. That changed last week, thanks to a Miami-Dade County-backed program targeting first-time homebuyers, and a loan from one of the largest black-owned banks in the United States, OneUnited Bank. The Crichlows say they found their dream home thanks to the program: A three-bedroom house in Miami Gardens with a "beautiful" kitchen and living room, according to Mrs. Crichlow, and a big yard. It is perfect for their two young sons. The gap between black and non-black homeownership rates remains substantial both nationally and in the Miami metro area. But the Miami market is outperforming national rates on an overall level of black homeownership, as well as in having closed the local racial gap.
Dominik Mjartan become president and CEO of what would become Optus Bank, an organization with a historic but rocky past, in September 2017. The bank, founded in 1921 as Victory Savings Banks and then known as S.C. Community Bank, was at its lowest point, reeling from the Great Recession of 2008, mired in a mess of non-performing assets and on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s troubled bank list. How the bank got from there to record assets, a swanky new downtown headquarters and a swelling sense of optimism involves the commitment of long-time believers — and their money — along with an infusion of fresh capital from new converts. “We need to make sure that economic opportunities are present and folks can improve their lives and make good choices for themselves,” Mjartan said. “I think every person should have a fair chance to earn a good living or to build a business or buy a house.” Optus’ remarkable turnaround bears out Mjartan’s belief. Since year-end 2016, the bank’s total assets have grown 51% to $80 million, up from a low of $47.8 million in September 2017, when Mjartan took over. Total deposits have grown to $71.2 million, a 50% increase since year-end 2016 and up from a low of $41.5 million.
Central Payments announced last month its seven-member advisory board for Falls Fintech, the organization's early-stage, onsite accelerator for upstart financial technology companies. Nikkee Rhody, Falls Fintech Managing Director and Co-founder, commented on the group: "This advisory board reflects our commitment to connecting accelerator participants with fintech pioneers and thought leaders, and this group's contributions have already been felt as we finalize plans for our inaugural cohort." Among the seven members is Bill Dana, Vice Chairman and former President/CEO at Central Bank of Kansas City.
City First Bank is thrilled to welcome Annie Donovan to the bank's Board of Directors. Donovan currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that works with community-based partners to make investments in housing, businesses, jobs, education, safety and health. "We are extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Annie's extraordinary leadership; impressive intellect; and deep experience with innovative and successful approaches for developing healthy, sustainable communities," said Brian E. Argrett, President and CEO of City First. "Her current and past work are in seamless alignment with City First's mission and values."
Although his own Treasury Department calls the Community Development Financial Institutions program a "thriving model of public-private partnership," President Trump on Monday once again proposed eliminating the program. The proposal was included in the Trump Administration's $4.8 Trillion FY21 budget released Monday. This year, the program received a $12 million increase, to $262 million, in the end-of-year spending deal enacted in December. The proposed cuts came even after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House appropriations subcommittee in April that the administration had not conducted research into the program's impact.
CDBA members VCC, Sunrise Banks, Beneficial State Bank, and Amalgamated Bank have been awarded Real Leaders Impact Awards. These awards honor the 100 top impact companies applying capitalism for greater profit and greater good. It's the annual ranking of positive impact companies in the world. These companies are driving a dynamic segment of the economy, bearing a new vision of capitalism that demonstrates every transaction is an opportunity for growth and a better world.
The Marketing AI Strategy Project Intern will conduct market and audience research to develop, build and implement solutions for increasing loan growth for a specific bank offered product. Additionally, they will assist the Impact Team with other tasks as needed in areas such as marketing support, internal communications, writing and/or customer experience.
Sunrise Banks Chief Brand Officer Becca Hoeft has received Ragan's Top Women in Communication Award, an honor that recognizes female communicators advancing their profession and accelerating growth for their organization. Hoeft was recognized in the "Leader" category and among roughly 100 other winners from major companies across the globe, including Aflac, Best Buy, Amazon, The FBI and Cisco. According to Ragan, the award is given to those who inspire others and are "changing the narrative" in the communications and public relations sector.
Backed by guarantee commitments from 10 philanthropic organizations across the United States and a large health care system, the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (the Pool) announced its formation. Guarantees are unfunded commitments from an organization's endowment that offer risk mitigation. The Pool, with guarantee commitments totaling $33.1 million, is a new tool for community development finance and the first of its kind in the U.S. It is expected to catalyze more than $150 million in new community investments in small businesses, climate and affordable housing. LOCUS Impact Investing (LOCUS), a subsidiary of Virginia Community Capital, will serve as the program manager working with the investors, underwriting guarantee commitments as well as monitoring and managing the portfolio for both impact and risk.
A plan to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act should theoretically be welcomed by community development financial institutions, but many such organizations are raising alarm about a key component of the proposal written by two federal regulators. The framework drafted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would place a new emphasis on the dollar amount of CRA projects for banks to be in compliance. This worries CDFI loan funds, which specialize in making relatively small credits and worry the new plan will lead to less capital from bank partners.