Black folks are turning to cryptocurrencies as a new path to wealth at a higher percentage than the general population, according to USA Today. An estimated 23 percent of Black Americans own cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, compared to 13 percent of the general population, the newspaper reported, based on surveys by Harris Poll. Black people are not alone. The survey found that marginalized groups disproportionately own crypto. About 25 percent of the LGBTQ community and 17 percent of Hispanics are in the crypto market, compared to 11 percent of white Americans. What many in those groups have in common is a belief that the banking and loans industry mistreats them. In the survey, 43 percent of Black people had that sentiment, compared with 28 percent of the general American population.
Residents and businesses in Choctaw County will soon have a new choice for their money matters. On Monday, August 16, the Bank of Kilmichael held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its future home in Ackerman. The bank will be a 2,400 square-foot building which will include two oversized drive-up lanes and an ATM. The bank of Kilmichael is a full-service facility specializing in loans, along with business and personal accounts. Ackerman Mayor Dale Reid said the new bank will offer a lot for local residents. "To have the Bank of Kilmichael come to Ackerman and build a building to service the people not only in Ackerman but also Choctaw County means the world to us," Reid said. "We are a small town - there hasn't been a lot of new construction going on in recent years."
There was a time not long ago that community development financial institutions and minority-owned banks struggled to find the capital needed to increase financial inclusion, catalyze growth and reduce inequality in low- to moderate-income communities across the United States. Today, though, the sector has the opportunity to scale up by increasing total assets by a factor of 10 — and commensurately increase the impact in LMI markets. Everything changed last year when the Black Lives Matter movement helped local and national leaders recognize the sector as an important agent of change in these communities. Both the public sector (via the Emergency Capital Injection Program and CDFI Fund) and the private sector are investing new capital and committing other support to these institutions — in billions, rather than millions, of dollars. The industry is now at a pivotal and transformative moment in its history. It has the potential to reimagine and scale up the impact in LMI communities that form the foundation of their work and help solve social and economic justice issues that our society faces. This piece outlines a strategy for the sector to achieve scale
23 partner organizations, including CDBA and CDBA member Virginia Community Capital, have lauched the Virginia CDFI Coalition. Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a $10 million budget amendment that effectively created and funded the Virginia CDFI Fund, which is to be administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The purpose of this fund is to support Virginia-based CDFIs and build their capacity to support communities and businesses across the state. In response to this opportunity, a majority of Virginia-based CDFIs has agreed to organize, form a coalition, and establish a collective voice for the community development and investment community.
The Board's Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA) is seeking to fill three positions that will each play a senior role in the development and implementation of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) policy. Depending on the selected candidate's experience and qualifications, the Board will select candidates from the following job titles and grade levels: Supervisory Policy Analyst (FR 26); Sr. Supervisory Policy Analyst (FR 27); and Lead Supervisory Policy Analyst (FR 28). The positions work under the general supervision of the CRA Manager, exercising leadership and initiative in policy development and implementation, including efforts around CRA modernization, as part of the CRA Policy section in DCCA.
Owning a home has long been one of the most effective ways to build wealth. But for many lower-income renters – especially for Black families and other people of color – the leap from renting to owning can seem nearly impossible. For many, one of the biggest obstacles to qualifying for a mortgage is insufficient credit history. Today, Fannie Mae is taking an important step forward to change that. We are making a groundbreaking update to our automated mortgage underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter®, to allow lenders to consider a history of recurring rent payments in assessing eligibility. It seems obvious that if someone is paying rent consistently it's likely they could and would pay their mortgage consistently, too. Yet we believe this will be the first time any large-scale automated mortgage underwriting system will leverage electronic bank statement data to consider positive rent payment history.
The expanded child tax credit, signed into law by President Biden in March, is an unexpected windfall to many families. For banks, it represents both a short-run test and a longer-term opportunity. The test is that many unbanked households are having trouble accessing their funds in a timely manner, and the Biden administration is asking banks to be part of the solution. On the flip side, parents who do have bank accounts are likely to want advice on what to do with the sudden influx of cash, offering banks a unique customer engagement opportunity. "I think that there's a substantial opportunity for banks and for others to communicate with consumers about this basically free money in their accounts," said Peter Tufano, a finance professor at the University of Oxford's Said Business School who has been surveying U.S. families about the child tax credit.
Virginia Community Capital Bank in Richmond prizes the clean energy lending program it launched five years ago. But as a small community development financial institution, it lacked the resources to find socially minded depositors at the scale it wanted to fund its solar loans. Ando, a challenger bank that focuses on sustainability, is finding them instead. The San Diego fintech has the trappings of a typical neobank: no monthly fees, early direct deposit and interest rates that grow in exchange for referrals. But its mission is to fund clean energy, sustainable agriculture and other green loans made by partner banks, of which the $233 million-asset Virginia Community Capital (which markets itself as VCC) is the first. “It’s always been my dream at VCC to match impact-minded deposit customers directly to the solar loans that we do,” said Bill Greenleaf, the bank's real estate lending team manager and clean energy loan officer. “We just don’t have the technology infrastructure or the marketing resources to find individual depositors that want to focus on clean energy.”
Quontic Bank, a community development financial institution in New York, has made a name for itself as an innovator. It was the first U.S. bank to have a bitcoin rewards card; it pays 1.5% back in bitcoin rewards for every debit card transaction. The bank has other products in the works, including a ring that can make debit card purchases. The $1.4 billion-asset Quontic also has been expanding its mortgage business. It is using a new method of underwriting that allows people in good credit standing but with low incomes to afford a home; 70% of its home loans are made to such customers. In a recent interview, founder and CEO Steven Schnall gave an update on the bank's bitcoin-related activities, its process for turning new ideas into action and its progress in the mortgage business.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to rattle businesses nationwide and the federal government launched its Paycheck Protection Program, businesses in Maryland and beyond struggled to process their applications. The PPP program was launched in April 2020, but some businesses said their applications were delayed — in part because they could not find banks that accepted applications, and many banks weren't set up to do so. John Lewis, president and chief operating officer of the Harbor Bank of Maryland, said his bank not only accepted PPP applications, but his employees went out of their way to help qualified business owners, regardless of whether they were Harbor Bank customers. Harbor Bank — co-founded by Baltimore native Joseph Haskins Jr. 39 years ago — is the only Black-owned and -managed commercial bank in Maryland. Haskins is the chairman and CEO of the company, which was founded to provide capital to individuals who historically lacked it, Lewis said. Headquartered in downtown Baltimore, Harbor Bank now has six locations, mostly in the city.