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Showing posts with the label OneUnited Bank

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…

Recent News Citations

Big banks: Too big to behave?
March 12, 2012: 10:28 AM ET

Given the level of repeat offenses at some of the largest financial firms, it's clear that the SEC needs to change its approach. By Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance.

Minority banks are struggling, even with bailouts
March 11, 2012. By Beth Healy, The Boston Globe.

OneUnited Bank is facing a painful question: What purpose can a minority institution serve when its own community is turning against it?

That’s the situation the Boston bank, the nation’s largest black-owned bank, finds itself in after threatening to foreclose on Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the most revered black churches in Boston, which, like many borrowers, fell behind on its loans during the recent recession. Community leaders vow to organize a national boycott of the bank if it fails to renegotiate the church’s loans by Thursday.

Boston's Mayor Sides With Church

According to the Boston Herald,

"Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is offering to help Roxbury’s historic Charles Street AME Church avoid foreclosure — and blasting the bank that’s trying to seize the house of worship.

Menino yesterday called the Rev. Gregory Groover Sr. — pastor of the church and chairman of the Boston School Committee — to offer help in the congregation’s fight with Hub-based OneUnited Bank.

The nation’s largest black-owned bank, OneUnited is threatening to foreclose on the church even though the company itself received $12 million in federal bailout funds in 2008.

OneUnited has scheduled a March 22 foreclosure auction of the church, some nearby storefronts and a Milton parcel that once served as the congregation’s parsonage.

Charles Street AME’s $1.1 million balloon mortgage recently came due, and the church says OneUnited hasn’t responded to an offer to keep making monthly payments while the congregation tries to refinance.

The two sides have long been locked in …

Black Bank Forecloses on Historic Black Church

According to the Boston Herald,

"Scandal-plagued Hub bank OneUnited has begun foreclosure proceedings against Roxbury’s historic Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of Boston’s oldest and most-respected black churches, the Herald has learned.

OneUnited, the nation’s largest black-owned bank — which got millions in federal bailout money — is threatening to auction off the church March 22 to cover a $1.1 million 'balloon' mortgage that recently came due.

Founded in 1818, the Charles Street AME Church was a key player in the 19th century anti-slavery movement. Abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison led rallies at the congregation’s original Beacon Hill home, while the church helped runaway slaves reach Canada."

The church "has never missed a payment on its five-year-old mortgage."

OneUnited has had a series of problems recently. The bank has few urban loans, yet OneUnited sought aid as community 'beacon…

Central Pacific versus OneUnited

According to the Washington Post, "Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's staff contacted federal regulators last fall to ask about the bailout application of an ailing Hawaii bank that he had helped to establish and where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth."

While we have seen this before, I think the Senator's case differs significantly from the OneUnited case. Black-owned OneUnited "sought aid as community 'beacon'", had few inner city loans, and still "got $12 million from the US bank bailout fund."

The cases are different because:

"Regulators in October (2008) concluded in a cease-and-desist order that OneUnited.. had poor standards for qualifying and documenting loans, and gave top executives excessive pay and perks. Two of the perks regulators targeted were a $6.4 million beachfront Santa Monica mansion (1% of OneUnited's assets) that management used while in California and a Porsche SUV driven on company business in Boston.&qu…

Black-owned bank has few urban loans

We note today's article in the Boston Globe: "Black-owned bank has few urban loans: OneUnited sought aid as community 'beacon'." OneUnited Bank got $12 million from the US bank bailout fund.

We take issue with several items in the story. Below, we reproduce sections of the story we have difficulty with and note our reply.

"OneUnited's chief executive, Kevin Cohee, said the bank is helping the community in other ways - by focusing on loans to churches and developers of apartment buildings. He said the bank pulled back on home mortgages because he saw the housing market overheating. He said he didn't want to compete with the many mortgage brokers peddling subprime loans with unrealistic rates and terms, loans that borrowers ultimately would not be able to repay. 'We knew this bubble was developing in residential housing' as early as 2004, Cohee said in an interview. 'If we had participated in inner-city housing lending, . . . we would have …

Congresswoman With Ties to Bank Helped Seek Funds

According to the New York Times,

"WASHINGTON — Top banking regulators were taken aback late last year 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 …

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