Looking for new investment ideas? In this article, OCC's District Community Affairs Officers (DCAOs) report on financing initiatives and partnership opportunities in each of the OCC's four districts. While not endorsing specific organizations or programs, DCAOs can provide more information about these and other community development investment opportunities. DCAOs can also consult with national banks in developing successful approaches to community development lending and service delivery approaches.
Click on the map below for the DCAOs in your district.
Vonda Eanes (704) 554-7082
Bonita Irving (617) 854-6547
Denise Kirk-Murray (212) 790-4053
Affordable Housing Assistance in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Housing is a statewide public housing agency focused on creating and preserving affordable owner-occupied and rental housing in Rhode Island. The agency offers below-market interest rate loans and home-buyer education classes for first-time home buyers. To encourage homeownership, the agency offers special financing options for home buyers purchasing homes in certain targeted communities within the state.
Rhode Island Housing provides a number of loan programs and services to existing homeowners to assist them in maintaining and retaining their homes. The agency also oversees the management of a number of affordable rental apartments for low-income senior citizens and families, and for persons with disabilities.
Rhode Island Housing offers loan products and services that can be used by participating lenders to increase access to affordable housing. The agency also issues single-family and multifamily taxable and tax-exempt bonds and administers the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, HOME, and Section 8 Voucher programs.
For more information, call Rhode Island Housing at (401) 457-1234, or visit the Web site.
Foreclosure Assistance in New Jersey
HANDS Inc., a local New Jersey community development corporation, is taking a leadership role in reducing the community impact of foreclosures. HANDS (Housing & Neighborhood Development Services) is leading a task force in Essex County that is working to develop a new special-purpose entity, Community Asset Preservation Corporation (CAPC).
CAPC is designed to preserve homes and prevent a decline in communities from foreclosures. It would address the blight caused by foreclosed, vacant properties. CAPC will identify communities affected by subprime mortgage foreclosures and negotiate with the lenders and servicers to purchase, at a discount, pools of the vacant and at-risk properties in the targeted area. The initial target is to acquire title to 1,000 to 1,500 properties. CAPC is expected to develop relationships with realtors, lenders, servicers and property management companies.
HANDS has also developed a pilot program called, "Time is the Enemy." With this program, the organization will partner with one lender at a time, which holds a number of foreclosed properties in a targeted area. HANDS will work with that lender to develop solutions to minimize the impact of the foreclosures on the neighborhoods. The community organization will purchase the mortgages from the lender, service the loans, and manage the properties, ensuring that the properties remain affordable.
For more information, visit the Web site.
Paul Ginger (312) 360-8876
Norma Polanco-Boyd (216) 447-8866
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Investing for Indiana Community Banks
The Indiana Community Investor Fund (ICIF) is a new low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) pool designed with several features intended to have particular appeal for community banks in Indiana.
ICIF has a $250,000 minimum investment requirement, which is low compared with other LIHTC funds, and ICIF will invest only in affordable housing developments in Indiana. ICIF was developed by the Great Lakes Capital Fund (GLCF), a 15-year-old regional nonprofit LIHTC syndicator that has placed $1.2 billion of equity in 325 development projects, creating more than 19,000 units of affordable housing and 100,000 square feet of commercial space in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Among the 24 investors in the other funds of GLCF are approximately 20 banks, including some of the largest banks in the country as well as regional and community banks, all of which have invested at various levels, and many of which have invested multiple times.
For more information, visit the Web site or e-mail Fred Hash, Great Lakes Capital Fund. Also, e-mail Mark McDaniel, Great Lakes Capital Fund, or call him at (317) 423-8880.
Wealth+Education+Collaboration+Opportunity=WECO Fund in Ohio
The WECO Fund, a community and economic development agency, was established in 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio. Through a continuum of comprehensive services, participants receive financial education, long-term support, and access to capital. WECO runs the Microentreprise Center that, aside from entrepreneurship training, administers a number of "microloan" funds.
WECO allows banks to provide community development loans by lending to the fund. Typical terms are at four years and interest-free loans. In addition, WECO administers a statewide individual development account (IDA) program. IDAs are matched savings accounts that enable low- and moderate-income families to save and build assets. WECO is seeking $250,000 in private funds to match its public funds.
For more information, e-mail Christine Henry, WECO Fund, or call (216) 458-0250.
Scarlett Duplechain (504) 828-6555
Karol Klim (678) 731-9723 x252
David Lewis (214) 720-7027
Small Business Financing Tool Debuts in Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced a new tool to assist small businesses with start-up or operating capital. The Small Business Loan Fund provides a nontraditional source of financing and targets especially women and minority entrepreneurs. The loan fund provides below-market-rate loans ranging from $5,000 up to $150,000, with flexible repayment terms.
The fund is intended to aid in stimulating the city's current economic development efforts and create or preserve jobs by providing flexible financing, helping to make East Baton Rouge Parish a stronger market for entrepreneurs. The new fund does not compete with existing funding sources but is designed to enhance the financial services already available to small businesses.
The initial funding pool of $2.5 million was supplied by seven banks and credit unions, Seedco Financial Services, the city of Baton Rouge, and other corporations. The loan fund is actively seeking additional loan capital. The fund is managed by Seedco Financial Services, a national nonprofit community development financial institution.
For more information, e-mail Robin Barnes, Seedco Financial Services, or call (504) 520-5727.
Lone Star CRA Fund in Dallas
This private investment partnership is being formed to make $5 million to $15 million equity-oriented investments in middle-market Texas-based companies.
As of June 2008, the Lone Star CRA Fund LP (LS CRA) has total capital commitments of $57.5 million out of a goal of $75 million. All of the funds committed to the LS CRA partnership will be invested in companies located in low-income areas of Texas.
The fund intends to bring jobs to low-income areas by investing in companies already located there or by acquiring businesses and moving them to low-income areas. LS CRA expects to complete fundraising during the balance of 2008 and plans to invest in seven to 10 Texas-based companies.
For more information, contact Arthur W. Hollingsworth, Lone Star New Markets LP, at (972) 702-7390.
Susan Howard (818) 240-5175
Dave Miller (720) 475-7670
A Growing Loan Pool in Washington State
In 1990, a group of 19 Washington state financial institutions joined together to create a revolving, shared-risk loan pool to provide a renewable source of permanent financing for multifamily affordable housing, as well as to reduce the underwriting and administrative costs for this complex financing.
In 1992, this shared-risk loan pool began operation as the Washington Community Reinvestment Association (WCRA). Today, membership has grown to 46 financial institutions, and the original loan pool has been expanded into three lending pools, raising WCRA's lending capacity to $105 million.
Since 1992, the WCRA has funded and committed to $199 million in loans representing nearly 8,000 units of affordable housing and nearly 30,000 square feet of economic development projects throughout the state of Washington.
WCRA provides multifamily permanent loans, special needs financing, assisted living financing, and economic development loans. It also makes available tax-exempt bond financing for affordable housing and economic development. Investor banks have also provided construction and bridge financing for WCRA-funded projects.
For more information, contact Susan M. Duren, WCRA, at (800) 788-6508 or visit the Web site.
REACH CDC in Portland, Oregon
REACH CDC Inc. is one of the most successful affordable housing providers in Portland, Oregon. REACH focuses on providing affordable rental housing targeted at low-income residents of Portland, many of whom were previously homeless.
The projects range from single-room-occupancy structures and multifamily properties to single-family housing. REACH develops and manages its projects throughout the city. Since its inception in 1986, REACH has added more than 1,000 units to the city's affordable housing stock. However, the organization is considering expanding its services into the surrounding areas.
In addition to its housing efforts, REACH runs a home-repair program called the Community Builders Program for homeowners who have low income or are disabled. To date, more than 3,500 repairs have been provided for more than 1,000 families. REACH also provides other services for its tenants including job training and an individual development account or IDA program for its teen residents called YouthSave, which provides financial literacy and matched savings accounts.
REACH's program support comes from public and private partnerships including loans, investments, such as equity equivalent investments, and grants from local government, financial institutions, and philanthropic organizations. The organization continues to entertain new partnership opportunities especially in construction and permanent financing for new developments.
For more information, visit the Web site.