January 10, 2013
Effective Feb. 1, 2013, Darrin Williams, a lawyer and current Democratic Arkansas State Representative, will be the new CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “Darrin’s financial skills, legal experience in securities and financial regulation and history of advocating for the rights of the disadvantaged in both his law practice and his political career make him the perfect choice to lead Southern Bancorp in its mission to build communities and change lives,” said Walter Smiley, current CEO and board chairman of Southern Bancorp, Inc. Williams is a principal at the law firm of Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman PLLC, where his work focuses on protecting consumers. “My career focus of protecting consumers from the abuses of Wall Street banks has prepared me well to show how banking should and can be done to help communities and people,” said Williams. “I don’t know of a better bank to make that point than Southern.”
The judge in the Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church bankruptcy case Friday gave the congregation until Jan. 18 to file an amended reorganization plan, over the protests of bank lawyers who called the church’s proposals unrealistic and based on erroneous figures. It was the latest skirmish in what has turned into a long court battle between the church and OneUnited Bank. Charles Street AME filed for federal bankruptcy protection last March, after it fell behind on payments for nearly $5 million in OneUnited loans and the bank threatened to auction off the the historic Roxbury church. “There is no plan here that’s possibly feasible,’’ said Gayle Ehrlich, a lawyer for OneUnited, in a withering indictment of the church’s financial records in US Bankruptcy Court in Boston. “This case is way off track and can never get on track.” Ehrlich criticized the church’s proposal to repay its debts to OneUnited over 30 years as unheard of with a business loan — only home mortgages and farm equipment purchases are afforded such long pay-back periods, she...
January 2, 2013
A reception was held at United Bank for retirees Nancy Everette Helton and P. D. Pollard Thursday, December, 13, at the Atmore Main Branch, where friends and coworkers wished them well after more than 28 years of service to the bank and the community. “Today we’re celebrating a day that we all hope to work toward,” said Bob Jones, President and CEO of United Bank, at Thursday’s reception. Jones presented gifts to both as he congratulated them in front of a crowd of more than 100, including fellow bank retirees. “While it’s bittersweet, we wish Nancy and P.D. the best as they begin new chapters and new adventures,” Jones said.
BankPlus Takes on Mississippi Payday Lenders
(January 1, 2013)
As the operators of a community bank in the state with the most payday lenders per capita (32 for every 100,000 people), executives at BankPlus in Belzoni, Miss., are characteristically appalled at the exorbitant rates that payday lenders charge. But uncharacteristically for a bank, BankPlus decided four years ago to compete with these payday lenders. Now it successfully offers a small-dollar loan product to thousands of people, with significantly better terms and outcomes. "The idea was to create a program to assist anyone caught in the payday lending cycle, but also to serve the underbanked who seek to enter the commercial banking system," says Bill Ray, the president and CEO of $2.3 billion-asset BankPlus.
BankPlus, a certified community development bank and CDBA member, is located in Mississippi, the state with the most payday lenders per capita. But executives at the Bank were not willing to stand by as these payday lenders charged extremely high rates to often low-income borrowers. Instead, BankPlus decided to offer a small-dollar loan product with better terms and outcomes. According to BankPlus President and CEO Bill Ray, "The idea was to create a program to assist anyone caught in the payday lending cycle, but also to serve the underbanked who seek to enter the commercial banking system."
Learn more about BankPlus's innovative financial product at American Banker.
December 19, 2012
Virginia Community Capital
Virginia Community Capital has received three national grants this past month to support its work in low-income communities and bolster ongoing job creation efforts. A $415,000 grant from the 2012 Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA), offered through the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution Fund, will provide leverage for a wide range of projects across Virginia. This is VCC's fourth consecutive BEA award. $32,750 from the Create Jobs for USA Fund, a collaboration between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network to spark job creation nationally, will combine with first round funding secured in 2011. $20,000 from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards Program, supporting innovative CDFIs, will provide planning grant funds for the Healthy Foods initiative at VCC. "These grants increase our capacity to provide funding and technical advisory services for low-income communities across Virginia," offered Jane Henderson, VCC President and CEO. "We are especially pleased to see national organizations recognize our efforts and the importance of fellow CDFIs."