Carver Bank Gets Much-Needed Capital Injection

Wall St. firms gave largest Black-owned bank a local bailout

William Michael Cunningham, social investment adviser at Creative Investment Research Inc., a Washington, D.C. firm specializing in minority banking, said the deal is good for the bank because it nearly triples the amount of capital Carver needed to survive. “It will give Carver a chance to remain in business and hopefully provide capital to its under-served community,” Cunningham said.

Wright said the investment provides the bank a financial cushion in a period of economic uncertainty to cover future loans. She said it also gives the bank the opportunity to grow the franchise new products and expanding products, such as Carver Community Cash, a new check cashing service for the “unbanked.” Wright said Carver has launched the product at two of its branches in the New York area and will offer it at the remaining seven branches later this summer.

Analysts told BE in April that the stakes would be high for 63-year-old Carver to pursue investors to invest new capital with the bank losing money in recent years. In its latest results released today, Carver reported a net loss of $5.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 versus a net loss of $2.2 million the same time last year. For all of fiscal 2011, the bank had a profit loss of $39.5 million compared to a loss of $1 million in 2010.

“This has obviously been among the most challenging periods we’ve faced at Carver,” Wright said in a press release. “Our loss in fiscal 2011 reflects the impact of charge-offs and provisions required to address troubled loans in our loan portfolio, as well as the substantial reserve taken against our deferred tax asset.” Referring to the bank’s financial woes, Wright said the capital injection “will allow us to transition from the impact of the recession and invest in opportunities to return Carver to profitability.”

In addition, Carver also announced yesterday that the U.S. Treasury agreed to exchange the $19 million in preferred shares it received from the bank under the Troubled Asset Relief Program for about 34.8 million shares of common stock.

Bank consultant Bert Ely, president of Ely & Co. in Alexandria, Virginia, said the capital deal will allow Carver to remain independent and get out of regulatory trouble for the time being, regarding its capital concerns, however, the bank will still need to address whatever other regulatory issues it may have.

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