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!
Rogersville-based Legacy Bank & Trust Co. completed its purchase of First National Bank of Clinton. The deal closed on February 16th, with Legacy Bank adding three branches in Clinton and Springfield, Missouri to its portfolio. "Our associates have worked especially hard over the past 12 months in creating new products and services that will not only benefit our existing customers, but also our new customers from First National Bank," said John Everett, president and CEO of Legacy Bank, in a press release. Aaron Buerge, First National's president and CEO, became a board member of Ozarks Heritage Financial and Legacy Bank. Through the purchase, Legacy Bank's assets now exceed $230 million. It employs 70 people at seven branches.
Sunrise Banks CEO David Reiling has been named by Trust Across America as a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree. Reiling is joined by seven other Lifetime Achievement Honorees this year and is the first CEO in the financial industry to receive this award. Honorees stand out as individuals who have been named a Top Thought Leader 5 times and continue to instill the values, principles, and beliefs essential to building a foundation of trust. "I am humbled to be recognized by Trust for a lifetime of achievement and it is an honor to be recognized among such great leaders," said Reiling. "Trust is a two-way street. Leaders must earn the trust of the people that support them. In turn, people must trust their leader and share their vision and drive for success. Shared trust is what makes positive change possible."
South Carolina Community Bank, plagued by problematic commercial real estate loans and other struggles since the economic crisis of 2008, has witnessed progress in recent months. New president and CEO Dominik Mjartan, in his fourth month at the helm of South Carolina Community Bank, said that it has raised more than $11 million in new deposits and closed more than $3 million in new loans to small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. "We've cleaned up," said Mjartan. "I believe, and this bank will prove it, that margin and mission are mutually reinforcing." Mjartan elaborated on avoiding future turmoil through diversification and finding niche opportunities for investment.
Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago is considering selling itself. The $484 million-asset bank is seeking to determine possible interest from buyers. David Vitale, Urban Partnership's chairman, said that the bank, which has shrunk over the past seven years, would benefit from being part of a better capitalized entity. Urban Partnership, designated as a minority bank, was formed in 2010 to buy the failed ShoreBank. Vitale said that Urban Partnership could also stay independent, with a decision likely this spring.
Carver Federal Savings Bank disclosed a regulatory filing that it will sell its corporate office building to a unit of New York real estate company Gatsby Enterprises for $19.5 million. The $656 million-asset company said that it will lease a portion of the property for its main office, through it will move its administrative staff to a nearby location in Harlem.
A task force has recently been established to address the issue of banking deserts in and around Shreveport, Louisiana, a city struggling with rampant payday lending. The task force's top priority is to find either a bank or a credit union who could take some of the parish's deposits and open branches inside banking deserts. Louisiana, which has more payday lender storefronts than McDonalds locations, is in dire need of trusted financial institutions. The task force took inspiration from New York state's creation of a new banking development district in the notoriously poor South Bronx. The state subsequently deposited $10 million into Spring Bank, headquartered in the South Bronx.