Partners (Spring 1999)

We thought it would be fun to ask....
What is the best single piece of advice you would give to a non-profit about
working with a financial institution?
Andrea McCaskey, Vice President, Community Affairs, AmSouth Bank
"Develop a mutually beneficial, positive relationship by meeting with the appropriate bank personnel to discuss pertinent issues and solutions. Organizations should be prepared to discuss how they would implement solutions and how AmSouth can assist in this regard. This approach ensures that all parties are working towards a common goal."

Denise Unley, Vice President, Bank of America, Pinellas County
"Identify the key players among the local financial institutions that are actively involved in an area of community development that closely parallels or complements the services provided by the nonprofit. For example, a nonprofit that provides homebuyer training should initially pursue partnerships with banks that have a strong presence in the affordable housing market."

April M. Harvey, Vice President, SunTrust Bank, Gulf Coast
" I think that it is important for non-profits to be knowledgeable in the particular arena they are pursuing and to have clearly established goals when approaching a financial institution. Specifically, the roles of all participating entities should be clearly defined, as well as how the partnership will benefit both the bank and the community".

Patricia Charpentier, Vice President, Whitney Bank
"I have found it very helpful for the non-profit representative to follow a client through the loan process by attending the application and closing. Spending this extra time with the client and loan officer helps to pull all of the information together. This time also serves to strengthen the bond between the two organizations."

Doug Jackson, Chief Compliance Officer, First American Corporation
"Effectively communicate your organization's mission as well as your financial condition to your banker. Make sure your banker understands how you manage your organization and how to work to meet the needs of your clients."

Leigh Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, Inc.
"For a non-profit to establish a favorable relationship with a bank, it needs to develop a culture and discipline of accurate, factual, measurable results of its activities in ways that bankers and business people can understand and appreciate. Anecdotal stories of people who have been helped are important to add a touch of humanity but they do not take the place of fiscal responsibility and credibility that can only be accomplished through measurable reporting."

Bob Dickerson, Executive Director, Birmingham Business Resource Center
"Choose your board carefully. Select people who bring the skills, expertise, and contacts that are needed to get your projects done. Pursuing this strategy will go a long way with banks."

Barbara Burnham, Executive Director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
"Sound community reinvestment strategies are predicated on strong relationships and open communication. Community based development organizations and lending institutions must take the time to establish relationships which reflect both market strategies and community needs. Creating healthy communities must be a shared goal as well as a shared responsibility."

Howard Boutte', Executive Director, West Jackson Community Development Corporation
"Our success in working with the local financial institutions was primarily based on using a two-pronged approach to showing that a favorable relationship would be mutually beneficial. First, we educated the banks about the various services (i,e,, homebuyer training) that the CDC provides to the low- and moderate-income community. Second, we demonstrated how the work that we do helps to train and develop individuals who are traditionally considered 'unbankable' into viable customers for the bank."

San Francisco Fed Offering Lending School

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is presenting a training program designed to make community development lending a profitable, dynamic venture for institutions. The National Community Development Lending School will be offered July 18-22 at the University of California at Berkeley on the Clark Kerr Campus.

Some of the most highly acclaimed experts in the banking industry will teach attendees how to think like an entrepreneur, manage risk, structure profitable loans, analyze credit, develop community partnerships and make sound business decisions for their institutions.

For NCDLS program and registration information, please contact Cynthia Burnett Howard at (415) 974-2968.

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