New York-based Carver Federal Savings Bank, the last remaining black-owned bank in the City, the turns 70 this year. To commemorate the anniversary, President and CEO Michael Pugh was recently interviewed live on Nasdaq Spotlight to highlight the achievements of the institution. "We know it's important to be able to support low-to-moderate income communities. One example of how we do it at Carver is... financial education. We have a laser focus on this particular pillar as a critical part of our business model," said Pugh. "Over the past nine years, we have educated more than 15,000 people through financial education programs." Pugh also talked about the bank's recent sale of its Harlem headquarters and impending relocation to the top floor of a nearby building on East 125th Street.
First Independence Bank, a black-owned bank headquartered in Detroit, is gaining a new CEO: Kenneth Kelly, a former Birmingham executive with experience at Alabama Power Co. and Hands-On Birmingham. Kelly will be responsible for leading the bank's local financial operations and overseeing its management infrastructure. "As chairman and CEO, Kenneth brings deep and experienced business leadership to First Independence Bank," said Linda Forte, board member and chairwoman of the human resources committee. "His knowledge, relationships, and expertise will be extremely valuable in leading the bank's growth opportunities in Detroit." Kelly was recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal's 2001 Top 40 Under 40 Class, and has been awarded the United Way Mervyn Stern Award for his leadership contributions in metro Birmingham.
BankFirst Financial Services in Mississippi has acquired HomeFirst, a mortgage services company in Oxford, Mississippi. The $958 million-asset BankFirst said in a press release that it will retain all of HomeFirst's employees, and will complete the transfer to HomeFirst's customer accounts to BankFirst this month. The bank did not disclose the financial terms of the purchase. "The addition of the HomeFirst team complements and enhances our current mortgage platrorm and establishes a new presence for us in the Oxford community," said Moak Griffin, BankFirst's president and CEO. "We are proud of our 130-year history and we remain committed to helping our customers and communities thrive."
The Senate has recently passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which would roll back financial regulations instituted after the recession. If passed by the House and signed by the President, the Act would reduce the money and resources smaller lenders currently spend on compliance. Savannah Now spoke with Robert James II, President of Carver State Bank, on the impact such legislation would have on CDFI banks. "It really makes sense for smaller banks," said James. "We serve the distressed community, the poorest in Savannah. We make church loans, the mortgages, the loans other banks won't." He said the biggest impact of this legislation on banks like Carter would be the change in how large deposits are treated.
The CDFI Fund has released its annual report: the 2017 Year in Review. The 60-page report includes the achievements of the CDFI Programs in 2017, as well as key impact data from the history of the Fund. In 2017, the CDFI Fund awarded organizations more than $472 million in financial assistance, loans, and bond guarantees. The CDFI Fund alwo awarded $7 billion in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), the largest single award round in the history of the program.
On March 22, the House of Representatives passed a $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page spending bill that would keep government agencies operating through September. The bill includes total funding for the CDFI Fund at $250 million, the highest ever received. The Bank Enterprise Award Program also received an increase in funding from $23 million to $25 million, which would greatly benefit CDFI banks. The Senate is expected to vote on the passage of the bill before the end of the week. If signed into law, this bill is widely expected to be the last major legislation that Congress will pass before the November midterm elections.
At a press conference on Wednesday, March 21 MS Governor Phil Bryant has named Cindy Hyde-Smith, the state's commissioner of agriculture and commerce, to the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Thad Cochran on April 1. Hyde-Smith, a former Democrat who joined the GOP in 2010, is the first female senator in the state's history. She will serve until November, when a special election will determine who will serve the remainder of Cochran's term, which is set to expire in 2020. Read More >
There has been a recent surge in sales of larger community development banks. Last year, 34 banks with $1 - $10 billion in assets agreed to be sold, a 26% increase from 2016 and an over-50% increase from 2011. These deals hint at potential future mergers among bigger institutions, though disagreements over pricing can often delay or derail some deals. According to data from the FDIC the average bank is also getting bigger. Banks may find it challenging to grow organically, said Vincent Hui, who leads the M&A and risk management practices at Cornerstone Advisers.
Last week, the CDFI Fund awarded 40 organizations $120 million in Capital Magnet Fund Awards for the development of affordable housing and related economic development activities in low-income communities. Five CDBA member banks received CMF Awards: BankPlus in Ridgeland, MS: $700,000; MS; Beneficial State Bank in Oakland, CA: $3 MM; Legacy Bank and Trust in Rogersville, MO: $2.4 MM; United Bank of Alabama in Atmore, AL: $4 MM; and Virginia Community Capital in Christiansburg, VA: $4MM. In total, 7 CDFI banks and 2 CDFI bank holding companies applied, with 55% receiving awards. Congratulations to the winners!
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is set to launch a new Consumer Finance Marketing Toolkit, an easy-to-use online resource that will help CDFIs strengthen how they market their consumer products and services. Based on a survey of consumers, interviews with CDFIs, and pilot testing with three CDFIs, the toolkit includes customizable marketing materials that reflect a new value proposition intended to attract new consumers to your CDFI. Presenters include Mia Mendoza, Principal of The Mendoza Group, a firm with expertise in multicultural marketing; and representatives of two CDFIs that piloted the toolkit: Sheila Herrera of Tiwa Lending and Clifton Williams of Guaranty Bank and Trust. To learn more about how your CDFI can use the marketing toolkit, join the webinar. We will offer this webinar twice, on March 20 and 21 at 1:00 pm ET