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.
This week, CDBA CEO Jeannine Jacokes contributed an op-ed to the American Banker urging that Congress preserve New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) funding in 2018-2019. The article provides examples of improved healthcare access and expanded manufacturing manufacturing capacity through NMTC. “Decades of community development experience have proven that tax breaks alone are simply inadequate to spur economic activity in the most distressed places,” Jacokes wrote. “If they don’t preserve the NMTC, Congress could leave communities in need of a real boost at greater risk.”
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.
If you live in rural America and have a heart attack — or stroke — you may be in really big trouble. Over 30 million Americans live more than an hour's drive from a trauma center and an estimated 673 rural hospitals are at risk of closure, exemplifying a nationwide trend that threatens rural health care access. Yet an amazing thing happened at Monroe County Hospital in Monroeville, Ala. In 2017, it received a $6 million capital injection to renovate and expand its emergency room and oncology department thanks to a small, but potently impactful, federal program called the New Markets Tax Credit.
Senatobia, a town 8,000 in the Mississippi Delta, is on the rise. This article highlights the beneficial presence of Sycamore Bank, whose main branch is located in Senatobia. "Even though we are a community bank, we offer a full suite of financial services that compete with anyone, even the megabanks," said CEO Jay Tindall. "And unlike the megabanks, all our decisions are made locally and by the people that greet you when you walk in the door."
The House of Representatives has passed a tax bill that would do away with the New Markets Tax Credit next year. Banks and other proponents have urged Congress to make the NMTC permanent, as it spurs economic development in low-income communities nationwide by awarding roughly $3.5 billion in annual tax credits to investors in commercial developments.
The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) combines seven complementary metrics into a broad-based assessment of community economic well-being in the United States. The 2017 DCI finds that 52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities, with over half residing in the South. Distressed communities exist in red states and blue states: 36.4 million constituents inside distressed zip codes are represented by the Republican party at multiple governments, and 16 million constituents inside distressed zip codes are represented by the Democratic party.
The Community Investment Explorer is a new tool to analyze community development transactions over the past 30 years. The data, sortable by year, investment purpose, and metropolitan area, comes from 3 sources: the work of CDFIs, New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). "We know there [are] a lot of groups, be it affordable housing, developers, CDFIs, tax credit investors, in addition to policymakers, interested in this information and to see the stories this data tells," said a community development specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, was recently interviewed on the Your Mark on the World Podcast, and the footage is featured on Forbes. Williams discussed his bank's mission and strategy, saying, "Often our competition is not another bank; [it is] a payday lender or pawn shop, or someone who provides alternative forms of capital or credit that really strip wealth. So we really do a lot of outreach. We don't wait for people to come to the bank. We take the bank to them."