Leaders from CDFIs and MDIs gathered to discuss how Regions and these institutions can work together to improve the financial lives of those in our communities.
Submitted by Regions Bank
By Candace Higginbotham
Regions Bank recently hosted the second annual CDFI Convening, attended by 25 CEOs and executives from Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) across the bank’s footprint.
As he welcomed the group to Birmingham, Regions Head of Community Affairs Leroy Abrahams talked about the role these institutions serve in improving the financial health of our communities and why it’s crucial for Regions to maintain close relationships with them.
“Communities are important to us, and you are important to communities,” Abrahams told the leaders.
He explained that community development is part of Regions Bank’s mission to create shared value. “Our business is only successful when our four key constituents are doing well and are able to win – customers, associates, communities and shareholders.”
Our business is only successful when our four key constituents are doing well and are able to win – customers, associates, communities and shareholders.
Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs
Abrahams noted that Regions’ relationships with CDFIs and MDIs are key to that mission. “By investing in these institutions, we can create faster growth and ensure everyone has opportunity for financial success,” he said.
CDFIs are private financial institutions dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.
An MDI may be a federally insured depository institution of which 51% or more of the voting stock is owned by minority individuals – or a financial institution that primarily serves minority communities and whose board of directors is primarily composed of individuals from minority backgrounds.
CDFIs and MDIs are often based in small towns, rural areas or urban communities and provide services in areas where the nearest physical bank branch may be several miles away.
Support for CDFIs and MDIs has long been a part of Regions’ community engagement strategy. Regions Bank and the Regions Community Development Corporation have provided equity investment and lending support, and late last year the bank announced a program that allows customers of seven institutions to access Regions’ ATM network with no fee.
In early 2023 the bank announced it would be enhancing these support efforts, as part of the launch of the Making Life Better Institute. That initiative is led by Wendi Boyen, head of Community Advocacy and Financial Wellness at Regions.
“The financial support Regions provides is important, but perhaps just as beneficial is the technical assistance we are able to lend,” Boyen said. “We have a lot of expertise in our organization – in so many areas – and we have leaders who understand how vital CDFIs and MDIs are in our communities. They are more than willing to share their advice and guidance with these institutions.”
During the May convening, discussion topics included risk management, balance sheet management, economic and market conditions, consumer lending, deposit pricing, strategic planning, M&A, financial industry conditions, liquidity and technology.
What Regions does for us is give us additional resources that we can use to grow and expand. But more than just financial resources, there’s also the relationships.
Robert James, President and CEO of Carver Bank in Savannah, Georgia
Boyen noted that these weren’t just one-way communications. “We may have more resources at Regions Bank than some of these smaller organizations, but we don’t have all the answers. We can – and did – learn from the other bank leaders in the room. The whole idea was to have an information-sharing forum, a dialogue, and we accomplished that.”
“What Regions does for us is give us additional resources that we can use to grow and expand. But more than just financial resources, there’s also the relationships,” said Robert James, President and CEO of Carver Bank in Savannah, Georgia. “Now we have access to their ATM network to further serve our customers and we’re talking with leaders who are helping us design products and services that can extend our impact into the community.”
Watch the above brief video to hear more from Regions Bank and CDFI leaders about how their relationships are impacting local communities.
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $147 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas , and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
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