The Federal Reserve will conduct a national survey of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) from March 22-April 23. Participating CDFIs will be asked questions about their capitalization, capacity and the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations, clients and communities. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Reserve Banks and the CDFI Fund intend to use the survey data to inform research and policymaking. The survey data will also provide important benchmark information on how CDFIs are faring in the COVID-19 crisis and how they are serving low-income and minority populations. Finally, responses will be used to update a national CDFI directory for business, government, community leaders, investors and policymakers.
The current movement for racial reconciliation has raised awareness of the centuries-long wealth gap in America between whites and people of color—and of the role Black-owned banks can play to bridge it. Even if you don’t have a team of money managers or hundreds of millions to shift to Black-owned institutions, you can still start an account with a bank dedicated to investing in underserved communities. Banks mentioned include Carver Federal Savings Bank, City First Bank, First Independence Bank, and OneUnited Bank.
Citigroup Inc. said it will invest in digital mortgage offerings as part of its pledge to improve homeownership rates among communities of color. The push to digital comes as Citigroup said the rate of applications and originations it processed for Black and Hispanic consumers dropped last year, even as it increased for Asian homeowners. In response, the firm is also still planning to expand its community lending team and its network of correspondent lenders, it said. Citigroup has pledged $100 million to support minority deposit institutions in the U.S., which have seen their numbers dwindling in recent years. The firm’s already allocated almost half of that commitment to banks including Broadway Financial Corp., Mechanics & Farmers Bank and Optus Bank.
Valley Industry Association (VIA) has partnered with Mission Valley Bank and the Santa Clarita Non-Profit Leaders Network to form a proposal that has been sent to Congressman Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) that would provide funds to ease debt for eligible businesses in return for service to better the community. If approved, the proposal would make funding available to eligible Santa Clarita Valley businesses in crisis. These businesses are expected to maintain a clean criminal record, provide service through pre-approved organizations and programs, and maintain their presence in the Santa Clarita Valley for the foreseeable future, according to the document sent to Garcia. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Santa Clarita small businesses have been left with consequential amounts of debt, with few options on how to survive and bounce back.
Wells Fargo has made a new round of investments in Black-owned banks. The San Francisco company said it has invested in the $52 million-asset Carver State in Savannah, Ga.; the $572 million-asset Citizens Trust in Atlanta; the $287 million-asset First Independence in Detroit; the $765 million-asset Liberty in New Orleans; and the $183 million-asset Unity in Houston.
For the third year running, Forbes has partnered with market research firm Statista to produce our list of the World's Best Banks. Instead of gauging the balance sheets and P&L statements, as Forbes does for its ranking of the 100 largest publicly-traded U.S. banks published annually, Statista surveyed more than 43,000 customers around the globe for their opinions on their current and former banking relationships. Banks were rated on general satisfaction and key attributes like trust, fees, digital services and financial advice. BankPlus is ranked 24th in the United States.
Sunrise Banks' CEO David Reiling, already leading what aspires to be "The World's Most Socially Responsible Bank," is pursuing that vision on a larger platform as the new chairman of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). Reiling was named the organization's board chairman as Sunrise Banks hosted the 13th-annual meeting of the GABV. The alliance of 66 international banks and financial cooperatives works to build sustainable, economic, social and environmental development. The meeting took place as a virtual event over two days in March.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), held the inaugural meeting of a new advisory group focused on public policies that support minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs), whose mission includes supporting low- and moderate-income communities, communities of color, and minority-owned businesses. In addition to staff from the offices of Chairwoman Waters, Senator Warner and the Office of Vice President Harris, the participants in the first meeting of the advisory group include: Jeannie Jacokes, Community Development Bankers Association; Robert James, National Bankers Association; Cathie Mahon, Inclusiv; Charles Phillips, Black Economic Alliance; Jennifer Vasiloff, Opportunity Finance Network
Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program in March 2020 as an emergency stopgap for what lawmakers expected to be a few months of sharp economic disruption. But as the pandemic raged on, the program — which made its first loans one year ago this past week — has turned into the largest small-business support program in American history, sending $734 billion in forgivable loans to struggling companies. The program helped nearly seven million businesses retain workers. But it has also been plagued by complex, changing rules at every stage of its existence. And one year in, it has become clear that the program's hasty rollout and design hurt some of the most vulnerable businesses. A New York Times analysis of data from several sources — including the Small Business Administration, which is managing the loan program — and interviews with dozens of small businesses and bankers show that Black- and other minority-owned businesses were disproportionately underserved by the relief effort, often because they lacked the connections to get access to the aid or were rejected because of the program's rules. Southern Bancorp and Beneficial State Bank are mentioned.
The Federal Reserve will conduct a national survey of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) from March 22-April 23. CDFIs are specialized financial institutions operating in markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions, and they have been at the forefront of the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating CDFIs will be asked questions about their capitalization, capacity and the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations, clients and communities. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Reserve Banks and the CDFI Fund intend to use the survey data to inform research and policymaking. The survey data will also provide important benchmark information on how CDFIs are faring in the COVID-19 crisis and how they are serving low-income and minority populations. Finally, responses will be used to update a national CDFI directory for business, government, community leaders, investors and policymakers.