Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss) will resign from the Senate on April 1, ending a four-decade congressional career and triggering a fall election that could carve new divisions in the Republican Party and endanger the GOP Senate majority. Cochran, 80, has been suffering from health problems in recent months. "I regret that my health has become an ongoing challenge," he said in a statement. "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the US Senate." When he steps down, chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee is expected to pass to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala), who is next in the line of seniority.
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is set to launch a new Consumer Finance Marketing Toolkit, an easy-to-use online resource that will help CDFIs strengthen how they market their consumer products and services. Based on a survey of consumers, interviews with CDFIs, and pilot testing with three CDFIs, the toolkit includes customizable marketing materials that reflect a new value proposition intended to attract new consumers to your CDFI. Presenters include Mia Mendoza, Principal of The Mendoza Group, a firm with expertise in multicultural marketing; and representatives of two CDFIs that piloted the toolkit: Sheila Herrera of Tiwa Lending and Clifton Williams of Guaranty Bank and Trust. To learn more about how your CDFI can use the marketing toolkit, join the webinar. We will offer this webinar twice, on March 20 and 21 at 1:00 pm ET
Mission Valley Bank, located in Sun Valley, CA, has just announced that 2017 was its most profitable year to date. "As the founding President of Mission Valley, I am pleased to share that 2017 was another strong year for our organization," said President & CEO Tamara Gurney. Net earnings totaled a 2% increase over those of 2016. As of December 31, 2017, total assets reached $330 million, up $5 million from December 31, 2016.
Historically black banks have had a strong role in black communities. Their loans often finance projects that other banks wouldn't take on, and at fairer interest rates. And yet, policymakers rarely focus on partnering with or addressing the top priorities of black banks. Evelyn Smalls, President and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia, explained the importance of finding investors who also understand and place value in the mission of a community bank, especially a black-owned community bank. Joe Haskins, CEO of the Harbor Bank of Maryland, elaborated, saying, "If I can raise the capital, I can scale Harbor eight to ten fold over the next two years or so. The demand is there."
Native American Bank, based in Denver, CO, is preparing to open its second retail branch. President and CEO Tom Ogaard explained that the Denver operations have grown and the bank wants to become more visible by opening a retail branch. It currently only has one in Montana. "We've been wanting for some time to create a different presence than we have in Denver," he said. The bank, which has just under $100 million in assets, has a core mission of supporting economic growth in Native communities.
During this year's Black History Month, OneUnited Bank has presented the #MakeBlackHistory Plan for 30 million Black Americans to use the internet to organize their $1.2 trillion in annual spending power to build wealth and protect the Black Community. OneUnited President and COO Teri WIlliams explained, "We are at a unique point in history when the internet allows us to organize our money at a scale and speed never seen before. Hands down, this is the best time to build generational, personal, and community wealth by using technology and expanding financial literacy."
Around 250 bank mergers and acquisitions take place every year. The merger between Portland-based Albina Community Bank and Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank took several years to finalize, and culminated in last week's signage and branding changes at Albina's five former branches in Portland. Both banks are Certified B Corporations whose bylaws commit them to voluntary annual external reporting on a wide range of social impact metrics. Beneficial State Bank's unusual ownership structure and powerful track record helped convince Albina's former board of directors that the merger was an ideal way to preserve their bank's mission and legacy while satisfying their regulatory requirements and keeping their five branches open.
Last week, the Congressional Research Service provided Congress with a new report on CDFI programs and policy issues. The report discusses the CDFI Fund's history, current appropriations, and each of its programs. It includes a description of the Fund's eligibility criteria for the different programs, and also engages in an analysis of previous reports and studies on the CDFI Fund Programs, including CMF and the NMTC. Finally, it reviews four policy considerations of congressional interest regarding the Fund and the effective use of federal resources to promote economic development.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed last month, amounts to a vast cutback in the construction of low-income housing. Because the tax rate for corporations has been lowered, the value of the credits is also lower. "It's the greatest shock to the affordable-housing system since the Great Recession," said Michael Novogradic, managing partner of Novogradic & Company, a national accounting firm based in San Francisco. According to an analysis by his firm, the new tax law will reduce the growth of subsidized affordable housing by 235,000 units over the next decade, compounding an existing shortage.
Capnexus, the online database by Partners for the Common Good for matching capital to community development finance opportunities, will host a webinar on March 8 on how to use the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program for innovative financing. The webinar will feature NMTC experts that will discuss case studies and best practices from various perspectives. The webinar will also discuss best methods that Consultants can use to attract CDEs and Investors to the projects they are marketing. In addition, there will a case study that speaks to developers on risk mitigation of project management with the development of the project.