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Showing posts from 2017

IMF 2017 Spring Meetings: where we are now

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We attended the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings and heard nothing that would make us revise our 2017 Economic Forecast for Businesses under Trump as noted in my talk to the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce on February 14, 2017. As I noted then, we expect economic growth to continue for most of 2018. The IMF confirmed our forecast: global economic growth is projected to rise from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.5% by the end of 2017. The IMF expects global economic growth to reach 3.6% by 2018. Total global investments are expected to continue to grow from today's $212 trillion. These are stunningly good figures, and mark a complete reversal from the Fund's earlier, pre-Brexit 2016 economic forecast. Recall that the IMF predicted economic doom and gloom were Britain to exit the EU. They have softened their view, to say the least. This is not to suggest that the Fund has suddenly become a champion of the rosy scenario. (We think their growth forecast is too optimistic, by the way.) T…

World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, 2017, Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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In April, 2000, 10,000 protesters gathered outside the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings to express passionate disapproval of globalization and to express concern about growing income inequality.

Chaos erupted and upwards of 1,000 people were arrested. Seventeen years later, at this year’s World Bank meetings, there are no protesters to be found in Foggy Bottom. The World Bank has attempted to incorporate some of the protesters’ concerns into their Spring Meeting event schedule: they have increasingly emphasized income inequality and other issues. This progress was displayed at the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Roundtable on April 18: CSOs posed their questions directly to World Bank executive directors.

The questions were direct, opening with “How can the bank do more to provide relief in wars and other crises?” Executive director Merza Hasan brought attention to the relief efforts of the past, but suggested there was room for improvement. The comments were in line with World Bank P…

Africa Policy Forum on Famine. Kenan Tukes, Howard University, Impact Investing Intern

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The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium, sponsored by the office of Congressmember Karen Bass. This forum discussed the escalating risk of famine on the Horn and the Sahel regions of Africa, and the efforts, unrealized thus far, to stop not only the famine, but its root causes as well.


The Horn of Africa has, for years, experienced many threats. These include drought, famine, and ongoing conflicts - from struggles for power to genocide. In fragile states like South Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia, these threats have, in the present day, created a situation that threatens the lives of millions of refugees and the future of these states.

The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Monde Muyangwa and featuring Gen. William “Kip” Ward (Ret.), John Prendergast, and Jon Brause. The discussion brought into question the roles various Western powers as well as the United States play in the fami…

“Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar. Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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Economic forecasters have the unenviable position of consolidating the various policy proposals of the Trump administration and divergent global growth indicators into an all-encompassing and accurate prediction of global growth prospects.

David Stockton, Karen Dynan and Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute took on this task and elaborated on their analysis of the global economy at the semiannual “Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar on April 12.

All three believe there is potential momentum in the world economy with some regions expected to fare better than others. In the United States, tax reform, healthcare reform, rolling back of regulations and fiscal spending suggest solid growth prospects in the near future.

This optimism is tempered by concerns in both fiscal and monetary policy. In fiscal policy, the Trump administration has been inconsistent at times on its precise policy objectives and has already had difficulty in passing health care and tax reform.

Monetary p…

The Problem with OneUnited and #BankBlack

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According to the New York Times,

"WASHINGTON — Top banking regulators were taken aback..when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Water’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special as…

The First Bank Failure of 2008. US News and World Report. 1/28/2008

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The First Bank Failure of 2008. Luke Mullins. US News and World Report.
Bad commercial real estate loans sink a small financial institution in Kansas City.

A tiny bank in Kansas City, Mo., has become the first bank in the country to fail this year—but it's
unlikely to be the last.

Federal regulators on Friday shuttered Douglass National Bank, an African American owned
bank with $59 million in assets that was named in honor of the 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The bank, which has roots stretching back to the 1940s, had struggled of late, losing $1.3 million in 2007 and $4.3 million in 2006.

Although its recent losses were tied to bad commercial real estate loans, not residential mortgages, the bank's problems are nonetheless linked to the global mortgage crisis that has ripped through the financial services industry, says William Michael Cunningham of Creative Investment Research. "It's this secondary and tertiary impact of the crisis in the subprime mar…

Business under Trump

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We recently gave a talk to the Greater Houston Black Chamber (GHBC), at their monthly Business Luncheon “2nd Tuesday with the Chamber” on for February 14, 2017. The link at left is to a video of the discussion. I described the current economic environment for black businesses in Houston and provided a forecast for 2017. 

"Founded in 1935 as the city’s first African -American civic organization, the GHBC has evolved into an active participant in the City of Houston’s socioeconomic process. The organization is a 501(c) (6), not-for-profit, private, member-driven organization that serves the Greater Houston Area.  The GHBC is dedicated to supporting African-American small businesses in the areas of education, certification and accessing contracting opportunities and capital."

See: https://youtu.be/toYeng7PlRQ

​Taming​ ​the​ ​Tax​ ​Code - Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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Tax​ ​reform​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​major​ ​issue​ ​over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​several​ ​months. Both​ ​Congress​ ​and
President​ ​Trump​ ​have​ ​expressed​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​reform.​ ​

A ​panel​ at George Washington University titled ​“A​ ​General​ ​Perspective on​ ​Taming​ ​the​ ​Tax​ ​Code:​ ​What​ ​Yesterday’s​ ​Reformers​ ​Can​ ​Teach​ ​Today’s​ ​Reformers”​ ​provided great​ ​insight​ ​into​ ​the​ ​methods​ ​and​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​reform​ ​from​ ​the​ ​perspective​ ​of​ ​the​ ​House​ ​Ways​ ​and Means​ ​Committee.

​Bill​ ​Archer(R-TX)​ ​and Charlie​ ​Rangel(D-NY)​ ​are​ ​both​ ​former​ ​committee​ ​chairmen​ ​and ​were​ ​members​ ​of​ ​​Ways and Means in 1986 when​ ​the​ ​tax​ ​code​ ​was​ ​last​ ​reformed​.​

​Rangel​ ​emphasized​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​the​ ​president in​ ​getting​ ​tax​ ​reform,​ ​specifically noting ​that the​ ​President’s​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​inspire​ ​confidence​ ​among​ ​the​ ​public​ ​and​ ​the Congress​ ​can​ ​be​ ​decisive​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fate​…

First Socially Responsible Investing Portfolio Devoted to Diversity Launched

by Bill Baue. SocialFunds.com July 31, 2006.

Minority-owned Creative Investment Research conceived of the portfolio to promote corporate diversity while targeting women and minority investors for economic empowerment.

SocialFunds.com -- Socially responsible investing (SRI) has a long history of promoting corporate diversity through positive screens and shareowner advocacy--for example by filing resolutions for more race and gender diversity on the board or a commitment to sexual orientation non-discrimination. However, there has not been an SRI portfolio exclusively focusing on diversity until last week's launch of the Diversity Index Portfolio by Creative Investment Research, a Minneapolis-based minority owned social investment advisory firm. The portfolio consists of between 40 to 60 large-cap US companies with strong diversity performance.

"While other socially responsible funds may consider workforce diversity as one factor among many, the Creative Investment Research Di…

Property Flipping Remediation Yields Investment-grade Security

Property Flipping Remediation Yields Investment-grade Security
by Mark Thomsen October 10, 2001

SocialFunds.com -- A three-year property flipping scheme in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (see yesterday's article) affected a total of over 500 families. While some were able to regain their credit, many lost their homes. However, about 50 families, despite all odds, had managed to hold on to their houses. In a few cases they have staved off foreclosure by making partial payments.

The Family Housing Fund (FHF), a nonprofit that promotes affordable housing in Minneapolis and St. Paul, realized that these 50 families might have a chance of keeping their homes if they received the right help. This help would have to go beyond the scope of the Property Flipping Task Force, a multi-organization initiative that FHF launched to help victims of the scam.

In the summer of 2000, members of FHF met with the Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to discuss how new …

Feedback on the new book!

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I thought I would share some initial feedback I have received on the new book: The JOBS Act: Crowdfunding Guide to Small Businesses and Startups 2nd ed. https://www.amazon.com/JOBS-Act-Crowdfunding-Businesses-Startups/dp/1484224086
"Definitely clear. I really enjoyed the depth of substance on the Act. I also liked the enthusiasm for crowdfunding w/o any of the manic cheerleading seen elsewhere (impact investing has the same problem - IMHO). Balance goes a long way in my view and you reminding readers that crowdfunding is real work is very important.
Scott S.
Thank you, Scott!

$25K for Women-Owned Businesses and Women Founders

Walker's Legacy - Due this FRIDAY Register Today: Deadline Approaching for the PROSPECTUS Online Business Accelerator. Win $5,000 in prize funding with the Walker's Legacy PROSPECTUS Online Business Accelerator. This is an opportunity for small women-owned enterprises to grow and expand! Your business is accepted into the program once registration is complete. With partners like Google, and Kiva Zip, PROSPECTUS is designed to provide women business owners with the resources they need for their businesses.Sign up todayor encourage a woman in your network to take advantage of this opportunity by nextFriday, January 13, 2017!
The Vinetta Project The Vinetta Project's $20K Venture Challenge is open to DC-area female founders with tech or tech-enabled businesses. You can learn more about eligibility and application requirements on their website.
Open to women founders with tech or tech-enabled businesses (startup must have at least 1 woman founder to be eligible)Winner gets $20K i…