The CRA Podcast

Join me for lively conversations with today's community development leaders.  Sit back, relax, and get ready to get inspired!

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Be the first to know about updates to the CRA, upcoming podcasts, and information to keep you focused, and sometimes, even entertained! 
 

Episode 9: findCRA and First Western Trust-Partnering for Impact

This episode interviews findCRA Co-Founders, Ben Loehle and Brian Waters, and Ted Gerbick, Director of Marketing & Philanthropic Giving and Emily Gardner, Senior CRA Analyst of First Western Trust. Together we explore tools for modern day CRA programs, regulatory reform and philanthropic priorities during the pandemic. We end on a lighter note sharing our hopes for a fresh new year putting COVID behind us and looking forward to in-person convenings and more high impact community development work.

 

CRA Podcast Episode:  findCRA and First Western Trust-Partnering for Impact

This episode interviews findCRA Co-Founders, Ben Loehle and Brian Waters, and Ted Gerbick, Director of Marketing & Philanthropic Giving and Emily Gardner, Senior CRA Analyst of First Western Trust. Together we explore tools for modern day CRA programs, regulatory reform and philanthropic priorities during the pandemic. We end on a lighter note sharing our hopes for a fresh new year putting COVID behind us and looking forward to in-person convenings and more high impact community development work.

findCRA

findCRA is a national software and CRA consulting company, supporting banks of all sizes in the smallest communities to the largest cities.  findCRA’s software is designed with a “CRA first” approach to provide powerful data, search tools and support services that help banks research and connect with CRA-qualified nonprofits and better understand their communities. Learn more at www.findCRA.com 

Ben Loehle, CEO & Co-Founder

Brian Waters, President & Co-Founder

Links to findCRA’s Software Solutions:

Community Qualifier

Contexter

Request a Demo

First Western Trust

Our mission is to be the best private bank for the Western wealth management client and our integrated business model distinguishes us from other banks and non-bank financial services companies in the markets in which we operate. We believe that the "Western wealth management client" shares our entrepreneurial spirit and values our sophisticated, high-touch wealth management services that are tailored to meet their specific needs. https://myfw.com/

Community Involvement and Philanthropic Pillars

https://myfw.com/community/

Ted Gerbick, Director of Marketing & Philanthropic Giving 

Theodore joined First Western in April of 2019 as Director of Marketing. In this role, Theodore develops and delivers First Western’s strategy and approach for marketing, advertising, public relations, communications, and philanthropic giving activities.  Theodore works directly with senior leaders across the organization to infuse everything First Western does with the promise of our brand for our clients, associates, and stakeholders.

Previously, Theodore served in leadership roles focused on strategy, marketing, analytics, and product management for KeyBank and CoBank, headquartered in Ohio and Colorado, respectively. Theodore brings with him nearly 20 years of working knowledge related to the development and marketing of payments, commercial card, cash management, and real estate services.

Credentials: BA, Marketing – Kent State University, MBA, Leadership and Business Management – Kent State University

Emily Gardner, Senior CRA Analyst

Emily joined First Western in June of 2017 and currently serves as CRA Analyst. In this role, Emily administers and oversees the daily operation of the Bank’s CRA program, maintains CRA documentation, and delivers organization-wide CRA training. Emily is also responsible for the preparation of analyses and reporting related to First Western’s CRA compliance and oversight committees.

Additionally, Emily works closely with other members of our CRA Committee and our associates to ensure that First Western continues to reach our CRA goals each year.

Prior to First Western, Emily successfully launched and owned a small online business, for which she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Young Americans Center for Financial Education.

Credentials: BS, Business Administration: Marketing and Information Management – University of Colorado 

CRA Today and the CRA Hub

Linda Ezuka, Founder, CRA Today and the CRA Hub

www.cratoday.com

https://www.cratoday.com/Hub 

The CRA Hub is a new way to connect and forge community development impact through our CRA programs. The CRA Hub is an exclusive membership for bank professionals to connect with fellow colleagues, find inspiration and master the art of the CRA. 

No matter where you are on your CRA journey, the CRA Hub has something for you. This membership is for you if: 

  • you are new to CRA due to a promotion, new job or position or were never formally trained on CRA;
  • you understand key CRA program elements and have navigated through your first CRA exam cycle and want to deepen your understanding of CRA best practices;
  • you are making progress on the integrity of your bank’s CRA data collection, maintenance and/or reporting and want to ensure enhanced data integrity;
  • you want to learn from experts about refreshing your CRA programs, and discover innovative programs to consider in your assessment areas;
  • you are navigating CRA regulatory reform or you suspect reform is on the horizon;
  • you want to vet an idea and discuss your approach to CRA decisions with CRA colleagues who understand the unique challenges in your programs; or
  • you want to forge potential partnerships for impact in a broader regional area.
 

Episode 8: The CRA Files Replay: Demystifying Community Reinvestment

In this episode of the CRA Files, Ron Brooks interviews Linda Ezuka: Consultant. Community Advocate. Committed to transforming communities through the power of economic development and CRA.  Listen to hear Linda describe her vision for the CRA Hub and other community development thoughts.

 

 

In this episode of the CRA Files, Ron Brooks interviews Linda Ezuka: Consultant. Community Advocate. Committed to transforming communities through the power of economic development and CRA.  Listen to hear Linda describe her vision for the CRA Hub and other community development thoughts.

CRA Partners is a turnkey CRA compliance program powered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. The Foundation operates Senior Crimestoppers, a nationwide crime prevention program educating and safeguarding against theft, abuse and neglect. Senior Crimestoppers is funded exclusively by the banking industry.

Partner with us and you will satisfy your bank’s CRA requirements, boost your community relations profile and develop new business relationships, while ensuring safe, secure senior living environments, HUD communities and state veterans homes.

https://shcpfoundation.org/cra-partners/

 

 

Episode 7:  The Power of Diversity in Community Development

This episode interviews Jenny Flores, who leads the Wells Fargo Foundation as their Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy. Jenny joins me in a community development conversation and Wells Fargo’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their programs supporting small business. This episode highlights the power of diversity, equity and inclusion in our collective community development work. 

 

This episode interviews Jenny Flores, who leads the Wells Fargo Foundation as their Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy. Jenny joins me in a community development conversation and Wells Fargo’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their programs supporting small business.  This episode highlights the power of diversity, equity and inclusion in our collective community development work. 

Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy

Jenny Flores is Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy for the Wells Fargo Foundation, one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S. In 2018, the Wells Fargo Foundation donated $444 million to accelerate economic opportunity and success in underserved communities with a strategic focus on housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health.

With more than two decades of experience in philanthropy, employee engagement, and corporate citizenship, Flores is responsible for combining financial resources with business expertise to help underserved and diverse entrepreneurs expand their impact on the economy and ability to provide jobs. Most recently, she served as Head of Community Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility at Bank of the West, where she led the company’s strategy for small business engagement and impact, including the creation of a new $30 million investment fund with community development financial institutions. Prior to her role with Bank of the West, Flores spent a decade in community development at Citigroup and also held roles at the Congress of California Seniors, Greenlining Institute, and the California State Legislature.

An active community leader, Flores is based in San Francisco and serves on the Board of Directors for the Ocean Conservancy and volunteers as a mentor for start-up entrepreneurs through the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Milestone Maker program.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California–Berkeley and an MBA from the FW Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Wells Fargo Open for Business: Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) Program

https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/about/corporate-responsibility/open-for-business-fund.pdf

Wells Fargo will donate processing fees generated from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support nonprofits, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), helping small businesses recover from the economic, health and social crises of 2020. We anticipate awarding approximately $250 million in grants to CDFIs, CDFI intermediaries and specialā€purpose funds formed by CDFIs for rapid response to small business. The size of grants will depend on an organization’s capacity, geographic scope and alignment with the program selection criteria as provided below. Grants, generally ranging from $250,000 up to $5,000,000 will be awarded.

As the CEO of Wells Fargo, I can commit that our company will do all we can to support our diverse communities and foster a company culture that deeply values and respects diversity and inclusion. ...I firmly believe a diversity of insights and perspectives will drive Wells Fargo to the best ideas and outcomes possible. Part of our journey is about being able to listen to the experiences of others and having honest, open dialogue across differences.    ~Charlie Scharf 

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.97 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories. https://stories.wf.com/

 

Episode 6: CRA Modernization and COVID Recovery Efforts Collide

This podcast interviews Kenneth Thomas, Ph.D., of Community Development Fund Advisors, one of our pioneers of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to share a high-level overview of CRA Reform now that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released its final rule. This episode highlights CRA modernization, interagency positions, politics and coronavirus recovery efforts.  

 

This podcast interviews Ken Thomas, Ph.D., of Community Development Fund Advisors, one of our pioneers of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to share a high-level overview of CRA Reform now that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released its final rule. This episode highlights CRA modernization, interagency positions, politics and coronavirus recovery efforts.  

As so many of us are working with our banks to support our local communities recover and re-open yet CRA Reform is now at the forefront, especially for the OCC regulated entities. This episode is focused on 4 key elements, starting with a little politics, and then shifting to solutions and impact:  

  1. CRA Reform-Timing and Political Considerations 
  2. OCC’s Final Rule Framework 
  3. FDIC FRB OCC Interagency Future Considerations
  4. Community Development Impact and COVID Recovery Thoughts 

Here are a few links to take a deeper dive into key concepts and resources: 

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Press Release, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting Resignation Announcement 

https://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2020/nr-occ-2020-66.html

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Community Reinvestment Act Final Rule 12 CFR Parts 25 and 195

https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/federal-register/2020/nr-occ-2020-63a.pdf

Community Development Fund Advisors https://communitydevelopmentfund.com/

Ken Thomas Ph.D. LinkedIn https://barefootbeachcafe.com/menu/

CRA Today https://www.cratoday.com/

Linda Ezuka LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/linda-ezuka-cra-today/

Click here to access a free download "30 Creative Ways Beyond Forbearance and Forgiveness Programs to Support COVID Recovery"

 

Episode 5: Community Action and Partnerships Prevails as Banks Mobilize to Respond to COVID-19

Just when we were all getting ready to sit down and draft our OCC and FDIC CRA Comment Letters in preparation for our April 8th deadline, the unfathomable happened: our world shifted to all things COVID-19.  Linda shares her thoughts around bank's role in recovery efforts and provides details of the interagency regulatory response under the CRA.

Community Action and Partnerships Prevails as Banks Mobilize to Respond to COVID-19

Just when we were all getting ready to sit down and draft our OCC and FDIC CRA Comment Letters in preparation for our April 8th deadline, the unfathomable happened: our world shifted to all things COVID-19.  Linda shares her thoughts around bank's role in recovery efforts and provides details of the interagency regulatory response under the CRA.
 
CRA Comments Letters are due April 8, 2020-Click here to learn more and to submit your comments:    https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=OCC-2018-0008
 
On March 9, 2020, the federal financial institution regulatory agencies (THE FRB, OCC AND THE FDIC) and state bank regulators issued a statement to encourage financial institutions to meet the financial services needs of their customers and members in areas affected by COVID-19.  Click here to learn more and review the formal statement: https://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/bulletins/2020/bulletin-2020-19.html
 
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) also issued a recent press release to support banks during this unprecedented time:  https://www.ffiec.gov/press/pr032520.htm

Troubled Debt Restructurings Interagency Supervisory Guidancehttps://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2013/fil13050.html 

 

So, as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, let continue to be curious… Let's not forget to pause and ask ourselves as bankers, community development advocates and nonprofit leaders:  WHAT ELSE IS POSSIBLE?  

  • How can we partner with CDFIs to extend the traditional boundaries of capital where it is most needed? 

  • How can we leverage programs and services provided by social service agencies, federal health clinics and community action agencies to meet the foundational needs of the most economically vulnerable?  

  • How can we further lift local Community Foundation and philanthropic emergency response funds to invest capital for the greatest good? 

This pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for the entire country and the world, but especially for our most economically fragile people, our local organizations and businesses in our communities. And it is natural about now to also ask what we can do as families, as individuals and just as a good human… What else can we do to support our most vulnerable? 

Although we need all businesses, large and small to come through this crisis as a going concern, now more than ever, the small business community needs your support. If you can, shop small and local.  Heck, even let those kids and teenagers chose which restaurants they want to take turns supporting with a swift take out order for your next family meal.   Support the people and businesses you love… and above all else, be thankful for those walls that surround you and the roof that hovers over those you hold the most dear (even though they may be driving you a bit crazy…!) 

 

Episode 4: Impact Investing and How Powerful It Can Be For the Community

Our guest for this episode is Richard Woo, retired CEO of the Russell Family Foundation.  During his tenure at the foundation, he learned first-hand the power of impact investing and shares his early explorations, community partnership and impressive ROI results.

Impact investing, which seeks to generate social and/or environmental benefits while delivering a financial return, is expanding as a promising tool for both investors and philanthropists.   Stakeholders in community development have much to gain from learning more about this tool to fund mission critical projects in their communities. Some estimates value the current impact investing market at nearly $9 trillion in the U.S. alone.

 

Our guest for this episode is Richard Woo, retired CEO of the Russell Family Foundation.  During his tenure at the foundation, he learned first-hand the power of impact investing and shares his early explorations, community partnership and impressive ROI results. 

 

Richard starts with an overview of social impact investing and then shares the importance of curiosity and exploration as entities explore their roles in impact investing and the importance of aligning your portfolio with your values and purpose.  

 

And it is important to note, that while he outlines examples on how financial institutions, CDFIs and nonprofits are involved in this space, any investor, philanthropic, enterprise, individual, government entities, or commercial enterprises (banks, small businesses etc.) can engage in social impact investing.

 

Here are the links to the projects mentioned and follow up resources to learn more about social impact investing:

 

The Russel Family Foundation

The Russel Family Foundation – The Impact Investing Case Study 

LinkedIn-Richard Woo  

Mission Investors Exchange – Impact Investing, share deals and practices 

Confluence Philanthropy 

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Canopy – a group of 15 impact investing foundations from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and newly Hawaii 

Puyallup Watershed Initiative 

 

I leave you with these related questions: 

 

What do you value and what would like your capital to do in this world? 

What actions are you taking for the greater good? 

Is there a way to invest your financial capital to pilot, expand, and leverage for community impact?

Looking beyond financial returns, do you know where your personal 401k retirement accounts are invested and what impact they have in the world?   

 
 

Episode 3: CRA Reform and the Potential Impact on Community Banks 

Linda Ezuka joins host Michael Delucchi Of ElevateTALKS to discuss the current state of CRA reform, some of the key changes within the proposed rules, and how they may impact community banks.

CRA REFORM AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON COMMUNITY BANKS

Welcome to this episode and launch of a new series of podcasts around regulatory reform. Most of you know that we are in the midst of regulatory reform and things are heating up! In today’s episode of the CRA Podcast, I switch gears and share a podcast episode I recently recorded with Michael Delucchi of ElevateTALKS. Enjoy this short interview and then check the show notes below to learn more about the innovate work of Elevate for today’s community bankers and the regulatory reform concepts shared in the episode.

After nearly two years of anticipation, financial regulators unveiled their proposal in December to reform how they implement the Community Reinvestment Act and is now taking comments on these recommended changes through April 8, 2020. The plan will overhaul CRA assessment boundaries, criteria for activities earning credit in CRA exams and how banks are scored overall for their performance. If finalized, the proposal would be the first significant update to the 1977 law in over two decades. While the plan has a carve-out for banks with under $500 million of assets, it may have a significant impact for the more than 650 financial institutions in the U.S. between $500 million and $1 billion in assets.

In this episode of ElevateTALKS CRA authority, Linda Ezuka joins host Michael Delucchi and discusses the current state of CRA reform, some of the key changes within the proposed rules, and how they may impact community banks.

Founder of CRA Today, Linda has over 25 years of community development experience, with emphasis in CRA, compliance, training, community development lending and CDFI initiatives. Linda works with financial institutions to provide comprehensive CRA training, up-to-date resources, and proven strategies. She helps banks to remain compliant and to provide a positive and supportive environment for both employees and community partners.

If you are a community bank executive, lender, compliance officer, or responsible for CRA at your institution then this episode of ElevateTALKS is for you.

Get your free guide here! 

Still formulating your approach on what to comment on? Click HERE to get a free guide that may help you hone in on the key questions and how you might respond during the public comment period. Remember, comments are due on April 8, 2020! 

And more!

CRA Today: www.cratoday.com

Twitter

LinkedIn

Federal Register Proposed Rules and Comment 

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Bulletin regarding CRA Reform

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation CRA Page

2020 Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference

LinkedIn Article Regarding Regulatory Reform

 

Episode 2: CDFI Friendly Cities with Mark Pinsky

Mark shares a few stories of his CDFI journey and will share his new CDFI Friendly Cities initiative and his deep thoughts about community development.

Mark Pinsky shares "CDFI Friendly Cities" a fresh approach to community development

Mark Pinsky shares a few stories of his CDFI journey and will share his new CDFI Friendly Cities initiative and his deep thoughts about community development.

Mark will share his insights on how communities gain access to valuable and financing for small business, commercial real estate and housing and how you facilitate and lower the costs for CDFIs to expand their coverage and increase their financing activity into new, underserved CDFI markets. He will also share how CDFI investors expand opportunities and attract new investors who have previously lacked knowledge of and opportunities to invest in CDFIs.

Join us on a CDFI journey to transform communities through the power of economic development and the Community Reinvestment Act. Get ready for a fun and meaningful listen!

Here are a few highlights and links to explore:

Mark Pinsky

Five/Four Advisors White Paper on the CDFI Friendly City Model

Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association

Opportunity Finance Network

Community Foundation Bloomington & Monroe County

Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington, IN

Chuck Matthei, Equity Trust 

CDFI Fund, What are CDFIs?  

CRA Today – http://www.cratoday.com/

 

Copyright © 2021 by CRA Today LLC
(No claim to original U.S. government material)

All rights reserved. No part of this podcast may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author and publisher.

This podcast is a periodic publication of CRA Today LLC and is intended to notify and inspire recipients of new developments in the Community Reinvestment Act. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

www.cratoday.com

Be the first to know about updates to the CRA, upcoming podcasts, and information to keep you focused, and sometimes, even entertained! 

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