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William Michael Cunningham on Impact Investing, Blockchain, and Crowdfunding

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September 2018 - 10 Questions

William Michael Cunningham on Impact Investing, Blockchain, and Crowdfunding
Interview by Carly Schulaka
WHO: William Michael Cunningham
WHAT: Economist, impact investing specialist, founder of Creative Investment Research

WHAT'S ON HIS MIND: “Any finance professional in the U.S. should learn how to code in
blockchain.”

1. You are an economist, an inventor, and an impact investing specialist. I’ve heard you
say: “True innovation happens in a way that is independent of monetary returns.” How does
this statement influence your work?

It’s really about finding an interesting problem and applying financial technology to solving
that problem or to dealing with that problem.

You know, the people who invented the alphabet didn’t do so to make money. They had an
interesting problem—communication on both a local and a grand scale—and if you were to
calculate the social return for the invention of that technology or technique, it’s almost
infinite.

So, that really …

Opportunity Zones

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017, created new tax incentives for investments in what are known as Opportunity Zones: targeted areas in the United States. Investments are made via Qualified Opportunity Funds, who are directed to promote economic development in 8,700 disadvantaged rural and urban (read Native, African American and Hispanic) communities (low-income census tracts selected by state governors and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department) by offering investors substantial federal tax advantages.

As one analyst explained:

"Assume an investor has a $1 million gain in Apple stocks and decides to sell. To keep it simple, let’s also assume the investor is in a 20 percent tax bracket, totaling $200,000 in capital gains tax. But instead of paying, the investor reinvests the $1 million in an Opportunity Fund.

If the investor holds for more than 10 years: the investor pays ZERO capital gains tax on the appreciation of that asset."

These benefits are only availabl…

Impact Investing, Blockchain, and Crowdfunding

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Journal of Financial Planning. September 2018 - 10 Questions
​William Michael Cunningham on Impact Investing, Blockchain, and Crowdfunding
Interview by Carly Schulaka

WHO: William Michael Cunningham
WHAT: Economist, impact investing specialist, founder of Creative Investment Research
WHAT'S ON HIS MIND: “Any finance professional in the U.S. should learn how to code in blockchain.”

See: https://www.onefpa.org/journal/Pages/September-2018%20-%2010-Questions.aspx

Feedback on “How to Finance a Black Women-owned Business in 2018”

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We recently held a series of webinars designed “to help black women business owners discover various ways to land capital.” The webinars, titled, “How to Finance a Black Women-owned Business in 2018” were held on July 18th, August 10th and August 24th.

The feedback from the webinars is good. Eighty five percent (85%) of the respondents to our customer satisfaction survey found the webinar useful. Seventy one percent (71%) rated the webinar excellent.
















Of the forty or so women on the webinar (and they were all women) forty two percent (42%) have just started looking for business financing. Fourteen percent (14%) have been looking for business financing over the past one to six months, and twenty eight percent (28%) have been looking over the past six to twelve months. Fourteen percent (14%) have not attempted to get financing yet, but are simply exploring options.


















This dovetails with the recent efforts we have observed in this sector. The table below lists some of the new funds that…

Number of New Black Businesses "Jumps" by 400%

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recent survey found that African American businesses are increasing at the fastest pace ever. Survey results suggest the 400% rise occurred from 2017 to 2018. Conducted by Guidant Financial and LendingClub, survey data was collected via email sent to "more than 2,600 business owners and entrepreneurs. It found that 45% of all small business in the country were owned by minority ethnic groups in 2018." Earlier (2015) survey results put this number at 15%. Charts below show some of the survey data: Survey sponsors noted that "the highest volume of African American entrepreneurs lives in Texas, followed by Georgia, California, Florida, and North Carolina." (During our discussion at the Denton Black Chamber of Commerce Dinner in March, 2014, we noted the elevated profile of Texas with respect to African American businesses: https://youtu.be/E_AgImRM_Wk. Also see: https://youtu.be/fSGje7OaLpk ) While we are encouraged by these initial survey results, we urge caution.…

Asian Banks....again...

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We have been tracking Asian Banks for some time. See: Bullish on Asian Banks Originally posted on the Street Insight section of thestreet.com 2/28/2006 4:35 PM EST and Still Bullish on Asian Banks

Recently, there has been renewed interest in this sector. We commented for an article by S&P analysts Kelsey Bartlett and Carolyn Duren posted Monday, 02 July 2018 11:52 AM ET, some of which is reproduced below:

Deals are heating up among Asian-American designated banks, with two of the nation’s prominent institutions announcing deals since April.

In its second deal since 2013, Hanmi Financial Corp. is acquiring Houston-based SWNB Bancorp Inc. Meanwhile, RBB Bancorp is making a play for Brooklyn, N.Y.-based First American International Corp. — its third deal since 2013. The two Los Angeles-based banks remain interested in diving into new markets with high populations of Asian Americans, management said.

Hanmi expects the combined entity to have $5.7 billion in total assets, while RBB an…

Impact Investing