First Tennessee Bank and Capital Bank recently announced a commitment of almost $4 billion to support low to moderate income communities in the eight southern states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.  The $3.95 billion investment will take place over five years and focus on “mortgage and small business lending, community development lending and investments, philanthropy, and spending with minority-owned suppliers and marketing firms.”

In addition to the community investment, the two banks also want to make it easier for residents to access financial services near their locations.  “The community benefits plan, which is an agreement with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its community-based members across the Southeast, will run from 2018-2022.”

The announcement has received praise from many organizations within the Southeast including the Housing Education & Economic Development, Memphis Housing Authority, Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida, and  Chattanooga Organized for Action, Inc to name a few.  It is especially gaining attraction for its focus on promoting and supporting minority owned businesses within the areas.

According to the Chattanoogan, the community investment plan will target the following issues:

  • Building small business: Fund $1.9 billion in small business lending to businesses in low- to moderate-income areas and businesses with less than $1 million in gross annual revenue.
  • Fostering community development: Fund $1.5 billion in community development and multi-family lending and investments.
  • Increasing home ownership: Fund $515 million in home purchase and rehabilitation mortgage lending to low- to moderate-income individuals and communities and to people of color and communities.
  • Strengthening communities: Fund $40 million in grants and philanthropy, including supporting workforce development, small business, housing counseling, Community Development Corporations, Community Development Financial Institutions, and funding financial literacy and education programs for youth, adults, and small business entrepreneurs.
  • Supporting supplier diversity: Devote 3 to 6 percent of the bank’s supplier spending to minority-owned businesses.
  • Partnering with minority-owned marketing firms: Earmark a portion of the bank’s marketing budget to minority-owned firms.