If Congress passes a major rollback of banking rules put in place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, thousands of banks could be freed from a range of federal regulations. Louisiana community bankers say that, unlike large lenders that bundle mortgages together and quickly resell them on the markets, they keep most of their loans. Ken Hale, president and CEO of the Bank of Montgomery, discussed the impact of such regulations on his bank's finances. "In most rural areas, for most community banks, real estate lending is kind of our bread and butter," he said, explaining that federal regulations are unnecessary in his context to determine whether the bank should issue a mortgage.
This article from the American Banker examines the partnership between New Resource Bank in San Francisco and a fintech firm, which aims to reach underserved small-business clients. New Resource, which agreed to sell itself to Amalgamated Bank in New York in December, is delving into an area — working with fintech — that has largely been the domain of larger financial institutions. In doing so, New Resource is taking part in an arrangement that industry observers view as unique given the bank's size. The partnership is enticing for banks looking to grow their C&I portfolios. "I think there's definitely room for niche players," said Ian Benton, a senior digital banking and payments analyst with Javelin Strategy & Research. "That's why bank partnerships make so much sense."
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African Americans built a successful business community in Durham, North Carolina. Durham's Black Wall Street flourished, becoming home to some of the most influential minority-owned businesses in the country, including Mechanics and Farmers Bank, the second-oldest minority-owned bank in the United States. Today, black-owned businesses are continuing to thrive. According to the US Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners, black-owned firms make up more than a quarter of all companies in Durham, nearly twice the percentage of black-owned firms in North Carolina as a whole.
Lower-income neighborhoods are plagued by disproportionately fewer bank branches, prompting some residents to turn to high-cost alternatives to obtain capital. Advocates say there is a viable option to help fill the void. In Buffalo, NY, some legislators are calling for the state to allocate $25 million to support CDFIs. "We want to see a statewide investment, an affirmative policy where the state is committing to support institutions that share this mission to serve low-income communities," said Andy Morrison, campaigns director for the New Economy Project. The small number of bank branches in low-income areas, he argues, underscores the need for state funding.
John Williams will move from the San Francisco Fed to take on the pivotal New York Federal Reserve president's position. Long rumored for the job, Williams will exit the president's post he held in San Francisco since 2011. As head of the New York district, he will oversee the important trading desk that helps set the Fed's key funds rate used as a benchmark for multiple types of consumer and bank debt. The appoitment comes with the Fed in the middle of some key operations in carrying out its mandate of skipping the economy at full employment and stabilizing inflation.
It has been 50 years since Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a landmark law passed in the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination that banned discriminatory practices in housing. However, homeownership remains elusive for African Americans. Since the financial crisis, the average homeownership rate has fallen below 64%, not much higher than it was in the 1960s. While every racial demographic suffered as a result of the housing collapse, none suffered more than African Americans.
Black Americans experience dramatically lower upward mobility than white Americans do -- a difference that appears to be driven largely by significant economic disadvantages among black men. This conclusion comes from a groundbreaking study that combines Census Bureau data on race with IRS tax returns, which allows economists to track individuals' earnings over many years and tie them to their parents' earnings. The study compares intergenerational mobility, the degree to which children exceed or fall behind their parents economically, across different racial groups. This article from Vox highlights a few major takeaways from the new research.
The plight of the unbanked in the US' poorest regions is a modern-day scandal in the world's richest nation. This article highlights the work of Southern Bancorp as it seeks to address the problem. In a region that has become a financial desert, where banks have left or refuse to lend to the community because of rigid credit policies from headquarters many states away, Southern Bancorp has breathed life into the small-town communities of Arkansas and Mississippi. In 50% of its locations, it is either the only bank or one of two.
Fifty years after the riots that followed the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Washington Post tells the story of Industrial Bank, a black-owned bank in Washington, DC that was founded during the Great Depression and survived the riots. Doyle Mitchell Jr., President and CEO, and his sister, Patricia Mitchell, are interviewed about the bank's history, mission, and survival. Before the riots, the bank cultivated a large and dedicated customer base. In the 50 years of operation since the riots, the bank has continued to grow, benefiting from a resergence along the U Street corridor that was once devastated by the unrest. "The city's population is increasing by almost 1,000 people a month. There is new development and housing going up," Doyle Mitchell said. "For our bank, the future is very bright."
The historic Brookfield Building, once home to the administrative offices of Fairfax Municipal Airport in Kansas, was named as one of the most dangerous buildings in Kansas City after years of neglect. The space has been renovated and now houses a boutique hotel and residential space in the heart of Kansas City. Central Bank of Kansas City was a major player in the development of the 118-room hotel and 27 adjoined residential units.