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.
First Independence Bank chairman & CEO Kenneth Kelly has been appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. The council is comprised of 12 members who are industry leaders across the Midwest, currently representing portions of the five states in the Seventh Federal Reserve District – Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. Chairman Kelly will serve a three-year term on the council from 2018-2020. “I am grateful to be appointed to the Advisory Council to provide insight into our economy in Michigan and the current banking landscape,” said Kelly.
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.
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.