Black Banks Shut Out of Federal Tax Credit Program

Black Banks Shut Out of New Federal Tax Credit Program

Freedman's Bank
(Image: File)

(File: Image)


“By our estimates, less than 2% of the $450 billion in NMTCs issued over the past [12] years has gone to minority banks,” Doyle Mitchell, CEO of Industrial Bank of Washington, D.C. (No. 6 on the BE 100s Financial Services Banks list with $363.3 million in assets) said in a released statement. “Some of our banks have been deploying capital in the poorest neighborhoods in America for over 100 years, and we think the CDFI Fund should review the program to ensure that applications by minority and other small CDFI banks are evaluated on criteria that reflects their position as regulated institutions operating in distressed areas, which is significantly different from non-regulated or larger institution applicants,” he went on to say.

“If not for the allocations that were awarded to our bank just after Hurricane Katrina, even less would have gone to minority banks,” stated Alden McDonald, CEO of Liberty Bank in New Orleans (No 4 on the BE 100s Financial Services Banks list with $350.5 million in assets). “In spite of the experience we have gained, our successful NMTC investment track record and continued need in the communities we serve, we have not been able to win an NMTC allocation from the CDFI Fund since 2010,” he continued.

Bob James, President of Carver State Bank in Savannah, Georgia, (No 20 on the BE 100s Financial Services Banks list with $40.3 million in assets) stated, “our bank has applied for NMTC allocations six times and have been rejected each time, in spite of our participation in over $60 million in NMTC projects and 88-year track record deploying capital in the most under-served parts of Georgia. We think something needs to change to give us a fair opportunity to compete.”

“Our banks have tried hiring consultants, attending CDFI Fund training seminars, finding creative ways to gain direct experience in the NMTC Program, and speaking to the CDFI Fund and Secretary of the Treasury, all to no avail,” said NBA’s Grant. “Consistently, larger banks are awarded allocations which enhances their profitability at the expense of our banks,” he continued. “Another concern is the relatively new entities created specifically to participate in the NMTC Program that do not have the long track records of service to poor communities like our minority banks. These new special purpose entities have received significant awards from a program that is supposed to benefit the neighborhoods served by our membership,” he added.

“The NMTC Program has great potential to be part of a comprehensive economic solution in America’s inner-cities, most of which still have not recovered from the Great Recession,” added Preston Pinkett, chairman of the NBA and CEO of City National Bank (No 10 of the BE 100s Financial Services Banks list with $155.6 million in assets). “But the groups best equipped to make those investments, minority banks – many of which have been in service for over 100 years- have largely been shut out of the NMTC program. We need our CDFI Fund to do more; we need a real change that will allow us to receive allocations so we can use these resources to improve our communities,” he concluded.