In its largest award round to date, the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced Feb. 22 that more than $175.4 million in Capital Magnet Fund awards (CMF) have been distributed during its sixth funding round. The fiscal year (FY) 2020 award round also saw the largest number of award recipients with 48 organizations receiving funds. The 48 awardees were selected from 137 applications, which requested more than $642.2 million in awards this CMF round. Congratulations to CDBA members Beneficial State Bancorp, Inc., Central Bank of Kansas City, City First Enterprises, Inc., United Bank, and Virginia Community Capital, Inc. on their Capital Magnet Fund awards!
Two CDBA member bankers were featured on NPR's Marketplace program in late February. Robert James II, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Carver State Bank, was on the February 22 program to discuss hiring at black-owned banks and the Paycheck Protection Program rollout. Dominik Mjartan, President and CEO at Optus Bank, was on the February 24 program to discuss small business recovery during the pandemic.
Carver Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, a certified Minority Depository Institution (MDI) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), announced that JPMorgan Chase has made a long-term equity investment of approximately $6 million in common and preferred shares of the Company. JPMorgan Chase's equity investment represents approximately 3.4 percent of the Company's issued and outstanding common stock at purchase. In addition, the investment includes 5,000 shares of the Company's Series F preferred stock. Carver expects to utilize the majority of the proceeds from JPMorgan Chase's investment to ramp up its lending activities to Minority and Women Business Entrepreneurs and expand its financial education programs in the diverse low-to-moderate income communities it serves.
While people are feeling the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Money/Finances is the No. 1 driver of stress for them, according to the second annual Huntington "Money Mindset" survey, a barometer on financial wellness. "Stress related to money and finances is a clear reflection of the challenges many people are having during these difficult times," said Andy Harmening, Huntington's president of Consumer and Business Banking. "Personal finances are often about planning, and we want to do everything we can to help people better understand where their money is going in an effort to look out for them.
As President Biden continues to select hundreds of key personnel to serve as the new administration, one crucial seat remains open: the next comptroller of the currency. The person who fills this role will have a profound impact on the entire banking industry over the course of their term. But there are two groups of financial institutions that have a particularly large stake in the game — community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs). But to keep this mission ongoing, it will require stronger partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs. The future leader of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will also play a critical role in this area since the OCC was the first bank regulator to push forward in recognizing fintechs as a part of the banking world — an effort that was supported by OCC leaders of the previous two administrations.
Fernando Tatís Jr. was 18 years old, just a low-level prospect from the Dominican Republictrying to work his way up in the San Diego Padres farm system, when he made a financialdeal that would impact his entire baseball career. And it wasn't with the Padres. Tatís signed a contract with Big League Advance, an unusual investment fund that paysminor-league players money up front in exchange for a share of their future MLBearnings. Tatís, now 22 and widely viewed as one of the sport's best young stars, today knows whatthose earnings will be. He agreed to a record-setting 14-year contract with the Padres onWednesday night worth an eye-popping $340 million, the third-highest total in MLBhistory. His new contract also creates a significant obligation for Tatís: to pay a sizable chunk ofhis new bounty—perhaps close to $30 million—to Big League Advance.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today named Sultan Meghji as the agency's first Chief Innovation Officer, charged with leading the FDIC's efforts to promote the adoption of innovative technologies across the financial services sector. Mr. Meghji co-founded Neocova, a financial technology firm providing secure, cloud-native, artificial intelligence-based software for community banks and credit unions. In addition, he worked on an aid mission to help implement digital banking in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and worked with fintechs and central banks to create peer-to-peer banking solutions for hundreds of thousands of people in underserved areas of Africa and Central Asia.
City First Bank is pleased to announce that Sonja Sanders Wells has been promoted from Senior Vice President, Interim Chief Lending Officer to Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer (CLO), leading the commercial banking group. Sonja Wells is the only African American woman to hold a CLO position at a bank in Washington, DC. In fine tradition, Ms. Wells follows in the trailblazing footsteps of City First’s selection of its first CLO, Ms. Kim Saunders in 1998, alongside the founding President & CEO, Ms. Debbi Baptist Hurd -- rare Black women executives positioned in the C-suite echelon of the banking industry.
An NBC News analysis last year of PPP data, census records and a leading economic distress indicator show that struggling American communities received less from the PPP program proportionally than the country's wealthier and more vibrant neighborhoods. Economically distressed communities — in which minorities make up a greater share of the population than more prosperous communities — fared worse than the country's wealthiest communities when it came to getting Paycheck Protection Program loans. Shortly after the PPP got more funding from Congress in late April, the SBA began to position CDFIs as the ticket to reaching minority small-business owners. The second infusion of capital, which came in April, allocated $10 billion in PPP loans for CDFIs alone. When the second round reopened last month, CDFIs were given the first draw of funds from the SBA.
For the second time in his career, entrepreneur Ken LaRoe decided to start a bank after being inspired by a book he read. This time it was "Drawdown" by Paul Hawken, and the new bank LaRoe seeks to open, to be called Climate First Bank, would enact some of the environmental principles it lays out. LaRoe chose Finastra as his primary tech partner based on its commitment to climate change as well as its ease of use and overall customer experience. The bank is expected to open in St. Petersburg, Fla., in May, provided it receives the necessary federal and state approvals, LaRoe said. In an interview, LaRoe shared how he plans to incorporate environmental principles at his new bank and how and why he chose the new company's core system.