Mission Valley Bank, located in Sun Valley, CA, has just announced that 2017 was its most profitable year to date. "As the founding President of Mission Valley, I am pleased to share that 2017 was another strong year for our organization," said President & CEO Tamara Gurney. Net earnings totaled a 2% increase over those of 2016. As of December 31, 2017, total assets reached $330 million, up $5 million from December 31, 2016.
Historically black banks have had a strong role in black communities. Their loans often finance projects that other banks wouldn't take on, and at fairer interest rates. And yet, policymakers rarely focus on partnering with or addressing the top priorities of black banks. Evelyn Smalls, President and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia, explained the importance of finding investors who also understand and place value in the mission of a community bank, especially a black-owned community bank. Joe Haskins, CEO of the Harbor Bank of Maryland, elaborated, saying, "If I can raise the capital, I can scale Harbor eight to ten fold over the next two years or so. The demand is there."
Native American Bank, based in Denver, CO, is preparing to open its second retail branch. President and CEO Tom Ogaard explained that the Denver operations have grown and the bank wants to become more visible by opening a retail branch. It currently only has one in Montana. "We've been wanting for some time to create a different presence than we have in Denver," he said. The bank, which has just under $100 million in assets, has a core mission of supporting economic growth in Native communities.
During this year's Black History Month, OneUnited Bank has presented the #MakeBlackHistory Plan for 30 million Black Americans to use the internet to organize their $1.2 trillion in annual spending power to build wealth and protect the Black Community. OneUnited President and COO Teri WIlliams explained, "We are at a unique point in history when the internet allows us to organize our money at a scale and speed never seen before. Hands down, this is the best time to build generational, personal, and community wealth by using technology and expanding financial literacy."
Around 250 bank mergers and acquisitions take place every year. The merger between Portland-based Albina Community Bank and Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank took several years to finalize, and culminated in last week's signage and branding changes at Albina's five former branches in Portland. Both banks are Certified B Corporations whose bylaws commit them to voluntary annual external reporting on a wide range of social impact metrics. Beneficial State Bank's unusual ownership structure and powerful track record helped convince Albina's former board of directors that the merger was an ideal way to preserve their bank's mission and legacy while satisfying their regulatory requirements and keeping their five branches open.
Last week, the Congressional Research Service provided Congress with a new report on CDFI programs and policy issues. The report discusses the CDFI Fund's history, current appropriations, and each of its programs. It includes a description of the Fund's eligibility criteria for the different programs, and also engages in an analysis of previous reports and studies on the CDFI Fund Programs, including CMF and the NMTC. Finally, it reviews four policy considerations of congressional interest regarding the Fund and the effective use of federal resources to promote economic development.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed last month, amounts to a vast cutback in the construction of low-income housing. Because the tax rate for corporations has been lowered, the value of the credits is also lower. "It's the greatest shock to the affordable-housing system since the Great Recession," said Michael Novogradic, managing partner of Novogradic & Company, a national accounting firm based in San Francisco. According to an analysis by his firm, the new tax law will reduce the growth of subsidized affordable housing by 235,000 units over the next decade, compounding an existing shortage.
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia, AR, has written an op-ed on the financial benefits of helping small lenders to serve borrowers in bank deserts. "The Mississippi Delta may seem to be the farthest place in the world from New York City's financial heart. But, in fact, there is an opportunity to connect rural America with Wall Street and benefit both places," he writes. "A major opportunity exists to serve these communities, and Wall Street firms do not need a bank branch of their own to reap the reward."
This article from the American Banker features efforts by M&F Bank in Durham to reach more millennial customers. The bank recently formed a millennial advisory board to help improve its technology and marketing efforts. The $268 million-asset black-owned bank will soon debut a checking account designed for younger customers. It is also set to host parties in two cities to celebrate its new checking account. The events will feature food trucks and a DJ. "I've never had a DJ at an account opening," said F&M's President and CEO James Sills. "We're thinking differently."
In the wake of recently passed federal tax cuts and reforms, First Southwest Bank in Alamosa, CO has become the latest US employer to announce a raise in starting pay, at $14 an hour with full benefits. "We're excited to take advantage of the tax reform and give the positive impact it has on First Southwest Bank right back to our team members and the rural Colorado community," said First Southwest CEO Kent Curtis. "By being able to provide a higher living wage to our starting employees, and invest in our team, we can be a catalyst for economic growth, and reaffirm our commitment to a better quality of life in all of the rural Colorado communities our branches serve."