The March 2016 banking policy update covers our work with the bankers councils, current mergers and acquisitions that will affect the region, and our upcoming trip to Washington DC.
The bankers councils were created to increase communication between PCRG’s member organizations and the banks that invest in the Pittsburgh region. At the Midtier Bankers Collaborative Council (MBCC) and the Community Bankers Collaborative Council (CBCC), community and bank leadership meet to identify common barriers, joint opportunities and partnerships to advance the respective partners’ missions.
On Wednesday, February 24, PCRG held a joint Bankers Council meeting (combining the MBCC and CBCC) to kick off 2016. The meeting was located at a (really cool) warehouse space in Allentown; Hilltop Alliance and RE360 are marketing this space for artists/makers and incentivizing tenants to move in by offering a 50% rent subsidy (contact email@example.com for more information). Our Bankers Council meeting brought together 52 bank representatives and community leaders to discuss Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Pittsburgh’s programs as well as the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) proposed Duty to Serve rule.
FHLB of Pittsburgh presented their products which banks can use in our market. These products include First Front Door (a first-time homebuyer grant of up to $5,000 for those who qualify, which can be combined with with PCRG’s CARL program), Banking on Business (gap financing and equity for small business start-up and expansion), and their Community Lending Program (low-cost liquidity and match financing for community development).
Josh Silver, Senior Adviser at National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), spoke to our Bankers Council attendees about FHFA’s proposed Duty to Serve rule during the second half of our meeting. The rule defines how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are to serve 3 underserved markets: manufactured housing, affordable housing, and rural housing. Our discussion focused on the Affordable Housing aspect of the rule. PCRG, in partnership with NCRC, intends to write a comment letter on the Duty to Serve rule to ensure that our region has a voice in the matter. If you have a comment regarding the Duty to Serve rule, please feel free to contact PCRG or submit your own comment letter.
Bank Mergers and Acquisitions Update:
Bank mergers and acquisitions offer opportunities for community input, and PCRG writes comment letters on all bank mergers and acquisitions in our region.
The current mergers and acquisitions that will affect our region are:
PCRG signed the NCRC’s comment letters about the Goldman Sachs acquisition of GE Capital and has submitted comments and met with bank leadership concerning the Key Bank/First Niagara; NexTier/Eureka; First National Bank/Fifth Third; Farmers National Bank/United American Savings Bank; and Huntington Bank/First Merit Bank applications.
The public has 30 days after the submission of a merger application to comment. We recommend that any PCRG members affected by the bank merger provide comments to us or write your own comment letter. Any positive or negative experiences you have had with a bank may be relevant.
NCRC Conference in DC:
We are sending 13 PCRG staff and members to NCRC’s Annual Conference (March 15-19) in Washington DC to learn more about how we can better advocate for our region’s community development system. During the NCRC Conference, we spend a day (affectionately known as “Hill Day”) meeting with members of Senate and House of Representatives to share our region’s community development priorities. Please let us know if there is anything we can discuss on your behalf with our elected officials.
For more information on our banking policy update, please contact Samuel Su, PCRG’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 391-6732 ext. 210.