Last week, the Mississippi Bankers Association hosted the well-attended 2017 Southern States CDFI Conference in Jackson. 15 CDBA member banks were among the 24 regional banks in attendance. At the event, CDBA CEO Jeannine Jacokes provided an update on CDFI policy questions. Other speakers discussed how to make the most of a CDFI certification and how to understand New Market Tax Credits in the context of rural southern banks.
Thanks to a $2.25 million loan from Virginia Community Capital, Seven Hills Food Company will be expanding its Lynchburg plant and increasing its staff. Seven Hills is a 2-year-old wholesaler of pastured, Virginia family farm-raised Angus beef. The plant connects local meat producers to local meat consumers. “The meat trade is dying as it’s being consolidated, so we’re creating a place for people who are interested in advancing in the meat-cutting trade and… creating more access for restaurants who have been limited in their ability to purchase because of the lack of availability,” said owner Ryan Ford. “This [loan] will allow us to continue growing our business to achieve our goal.”
Black Wall Street, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of minority and underserved entrepreneurs who successfully grow scalable businesses in Durham, North Carolina, just announced the return of its signature event, Black Wall Street: Homecoming. Mechanics and Farmers Bank is among the sponsors of this event. “This will be a powerful and impactful week for black founders -- and what better place than Durham, where history shows what we can build and where diversity isn’t just talked about, but celebrated,” said Jesica Averhart, BWS co-founder.
First Independence Bank is one of five funders for the newly-announced Fourth Street Ecohomes Project in midtown Detroit as part of the Selden Corridor Initiative, a mixed-use redevelopment that will create new housing, job opportunities, and businesses in the area. The Ecohomes will boast innovative sustainable technologies such as rooftop solar panels, solar thermal hot water heating systems, energy-efficient thermal envelopes, sustainable landscaping, and rain barrels. Fourteen units are currently underway.
The First Southwest Community Fund, a nonprofit supported by First Southwest Bank, was recently one of three awardees to receive funds through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to create a revolving loan fund. In 2017, First Southwest Community Fund received $400,000 for this loan fund, and assuming the state legislature allocates funding next year, in 2018 First Southwest Community Fund will receive an additional $100,000.
The CDFI Fund announced $18.6 million in 2016 Bank Enterprise Award grants to mission-focused banks for their service in high poverty communities. This Fund – which yields an enormously high impact with a near-negligible proportion of the federal budget – is under threat in the immediate years to come.
The CDFI Fund has announced $18.6 million in 2016 Bank Enterprise Award grants to mission-focused banks for their service in distressed communities. With limited resources, the BEA program provided grants to a record-breaking 102 banks and thrifts headquartered in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The highest proportions went to rural Mississippi and Louisiana. 92% of the money was awarded to 86 CDFI-certified banks.
This article by Next City analyzes the positive impact made by the 102 banks, including 50 CDBA members, who received BEA Awards in August. As a group, the banks provided $550.8 million in loans to 3,181 businesses and $37 million in loans to 2,193 residents in target communities in 2015.
In just two years, BankPlus has firmly established itself in Tupelo, where it has opened two offices, broken ground on a third location, cleared a lot for a fourth location and bought land for a downtown office. Up until 2015, BankPlus had little exposure in Northeast Mississippi. “Tupelo is well-known throughout the state for having strong community leadership in government and with the Community Development Foundation, and for working together to attract business and industry,” said Bill Ray, the president and CEO of BankPlus. “It’s a really good economic environment. It’s a hub for retail and medical, and we saw it as an opportunity for future growth.”
Virginia Community Capital has partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to finance the renovation of the historic Hayden High School into a senior residential and community center. Construction has been on hold for two years due to multiple setbacks, but is now slated to resume promptly and to be completed by July 2018. The building, named after the daughter of a freed slave, is on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.