Community banks partner with the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation
By Andrea Knotts Bona
Community Reinvestment Act compliance is a major undertaking, consuming endless hours of community bank staff time and management’s attention. And when the examiners come, the data must be properly organized to make sure the bank gives a complete and detailed picture of its efforts or it can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the bank’s next CRA examination.
“Many community banks are experiencing the pressure of tougher enforcement of CRA regulations during their CRA examinations and are being expected to do more to earn a ‘Satisfactory’ rating, not to mention an ‘Outstanding’ rating,” says Lori Millar, vice president of marketing and communications, Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation®. “At the same time, bankers are finding it more difficult to find high-quality, low-risk CRA community development loans, investments or grants.”
Some of the reasons for a lack of CRA opportunities include the real estate market downturn, historically low interest rates and the shrinking of the banking industry due to mergers and acquisitions, Millar says. These factors have made many of the community development opportunities that community banks used to count on “high risk,” which nowadays is an unfavorable investment vehicle for banks.
One solution to the shrinking CRA opportunity problem is to participate in the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. Participating banks benefit from:
- a guaranteed CRA credit;
- flexible funding options;
- proven and turnkey programs that qualify for CRA credit, requiring no administrative burden;
- detailed lenders’ low- and moderate-income documentation for the bank’s next CRA exam; and
- positive public relations exposure for taking care of the elderly in the bank’s community.
“As a community bank, we make various loans, investments and grants in our community. I believe there is no better CRA opportunity than to provide a safe and secure environment for the elderly—the very ones that made our community what it is today; and we take great pride in our partnership with the foundation,” says Bill Loving, president and CEO of the $265 million-asset Pendleton Community Bank, in Franklin, W.Va.
“I believe there is no better CRA opportunity than to provide a safe and secure environment for the elderly—the very ones that made our community what it is today.”
—Bill Loving, Pendleton Community Bank
The foundation provides safe, secure living environments to low- and moderate-income individuals by providing the Senior Crimestoppers program that promote a higher quality of life for those who are the most vulnerable. Community banks across the country have loaned, invested or granted more than $350 million to the foundation that has helped provide safe, crime-free living environments to more than 100,000 senior residents.
Endorsed by ICBA and with strong relationships with 43 state bankers associations, the foundation has helped achieve a 94 percent reduction in crime in the living environments of senior homes involved in the program. The foundation performs its work through sponsorship of the nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers program in each bank’s CRA assessment area.
“Participation in the foundation comes with a variety of sponsorship options,” Millar explains. “A bank can sponsor a nursing home, HUD community or state veterans home in its assessment area and has the flexibility to choose whether to structure its commitment as a CRA-qualified community development loan, investment or grant, depending on the bank’s need or preference for CRA credit.”
Andrea Knotts Bona (email@example.com) is ICBA’s vice president, marketing.