The Community Development Bankers Association and Inclusiv, the national trade associations for the CDFI bank and credit union sectors, respectively, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs last week signalling their strong support for the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act (S. 4255). The bill redirects $17.9 billion of $500 billion in funding already appropriated by Congress under the CARES Act for the U.S. Treasury to support emergency economic relief to CDFIs and MDIs.
First Federal Bank of Wisconsin plans to purchase Mitchell Bank. FFBW Inc., is the Brookfield-based parent company of First Federal. In an announcement this week, the bank said it entered an agreement to buy in cash the assets and assume the liabilities of Mitchell Bank. The purchase price is expected to range from $4.7 million to $4.9 million, a regulatory filing shows. According to the announcement, First Federal will take over about $44 million in customer deposits and $17 million in loans from Milwaukee-based Mitchell. As of March 31, First Federal held $278 million in total assets.
Quontic, the adaptive digital bank, is proud to announce the re-launch of its non-qualied mortgage products (non-QM) for one-to-four family owner-occupied home loans, along with non-QM loans for one-to-four family investors using a non-traditional debt service coverage ratio (DSCR). Quontic's unique non-QM loans are immediately available through its Wholesale Lending Division. The COVID crisis has required that most non-QM lenders pull out of the market due to liquidity constraints, capital losses or other reasons with little hope of reentry. While Quontic paused non-QM activity to assess risk during the pandemic, the bank has a strong balance sheet and is now aggressively offering its unique non-QM product line with favorable rates and terms to keep non-traditional borrowers and investors in the home buying market.
"The more you [run a community bank in the Bronx] the more you see the lack of inclusion is baked into stuff," says Demetris Giannoulias, the Chicago-born co-founder and CEO of Spring Bank. Reports submitted to federal regulators show Spring Bank's borrowers, both individuals and businesses, are disproportionately located in low-to-moderate income census tracts. All of its small business lending in 2016 and 2017 went to businesses with less than $1 million in revenue. Yet it is financially sustainable — if it wasn't, like any bank it would get in trouble with regulators.
Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program with good intentions: help small businesses both to survive and avoid laying off their employees. Giving out over $500 billion certainly helped, but PPP has run its course. Rather than applying for the $130 billion still available, millions of small businesses will close down. Small businesses and workers still need help, but we need a better way to provide it. Fortunately, there are bipartisan proposals already in Congress to do that.
What role should banks play to build post-pandemic resilience? Banks were the problem in 2008. In 2020 they could speed the path to recovery, for example, by helping small businesses weather shelter-in-place orders. The banking industry has an opportunity to make good on its promise to communities as an essential service to be protected. But it takes all of us who work at banks, advocates who challenge the status quo, and customers who expect nothing less than equitable committed service.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has awarded $265 million to five CDFI banks and their affiliated entities, all of which are CDBA members. The CDFI bank awards are as follows: $50 million to Carver Financial Corporation, affiliated with Carver State Bank of Savannah, GA; $50 million to Harbor Bankshares Corporation, affiliated with The Harbor Bank of Maryland in Baltimore, MD; $50 million to SB New Markets CDE, LLC, affiliated with Sunrise Banks of Saint Paul, MN; $50 million to Southern Bancorp of Arkadelphia, AK; $65 million to UB Community Development LLC, affiliated with United Bank of Atmore, AL
The Small Business Administration (SBA) released details about Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The data doesn't cover all PPP loans—just those over $150,000. That still includes more than 660,000 loans valued at more than $429 billion,* about 84% of the $510 billion in PPP loans that have been issued. The data begs three questions: 1) Who got what? 2) Where did they get it from? and 3) How well did the loans perform? To put it mildly, the veracity of the PPP loan data set is questionable.
Calls for swift action to end systemic racism have gotten louder in the seven weeks since the death of George Floyd, and expectations have mounted for banks to play a major role — especially when it comes to closing the income gap between whites and Blacks. At National Cooperative Bank in Arlington, Va., a focus on hiring and promoting more minorities ramped up in February 2019 when the $2.7 billion-asset bank began a series of discussions and exercises on unconscious bias. John Holdsclaw IV, executive vice president of strategic initiatives, said the bank, which was created by Congress in 1978 and must make 35% of its loans to low- to moderate-income communities, is in the early stages of making changes that will include affinity groups and, perhaps one day, hiring goals for minorities.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the launch of Project REACh to promote financial inclusion through greater access to credit and capital. REACh stands for Roundtable for Economic Access and Change and brings together leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, business, and technology to identify and reduce barriers that prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the nation’s economy. Participants in the inaugural meeting included Brian Argrett of City First Bank of DC and Wayne Bradshaw of Broadway Federal Bank.