The Regions Community Development Corporation, or RCDC, launched with great success three years ago and quickly began fulfilling their mission to create inclusive prosperity in the communities that Regions Bank serves.
A few years into their journey, the new organization began to experience some growing pains.
The RCDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank that supports underserved communities with limited access to traditional sources of capital by providing debt and equity financing for projects and entities with a community development purpose.
“The need is great, and the opportunities are infinite.”
David Christian, Regions Community Development Corporation chief operating officer
“The need is great, and the opportunities are infinite,” said David Christian, Regions Community Development Corporation chief operating officer. “We became aware pretty early on that we needed some process enhancements to streamline our lending efforts so we could scale our loan production.”
Innovation is a key priority at Regions Bank, especially around enhancing digital and data across all channels. Also important are personalizing the customer experience and enhancing the associate experience.
The company even has an informal bank-wide program for such initiatives: Innovating Today … With an Eye on Tomorrow.
Here’s how the RCDC team utilized cross-functional collaboration and technology enhancements to make it faster and easier to support their clients.
- Regions has a passionate team dedicated to providing lending products to organizations with a mission-driven purpose in underserved communities.
- Bankers who knew about the RCDC were ready and willing to utilize this important service throughout our markets.
- Because these banking products and the needs of the clients don’t always fit the standard lending model, it can sometimes take longer to complete the process. That bottleneck was frustrating for everyone involved.
- The RCDC collaborated with internal Regions specialists to create and enhance existing technology solutions to streamline processes and improve communication so they can offer financial assistance to more community partners.
- All stakeholders benefitted from this improvement effort: the team, Regions bankers and clients.
How They Did It
First, the RCDC team consulted with in-house specialists in Risk Management and Wealth Management to create new reporting dashboards. The Power BI tool improved the quality and timeliness of information, which in turn enabled quicker and better decision making.
Next, the RCDC engaged consultants from the Change Management and Strategic Execution team in the Regions Corporate Banking Group to evaluate their loan application and fulfillment processes. They also helped RCDC develop a more effective internal technical communication strategy.
As a result, the team was equipped with job aids and FAQs to distribute to local relationship managers and market managers to ensure lending teams throughout the Regions footprint are aware of the RCDC capabilities and processes. In addition, they streamlined the loan fulfillment process and helped eliminate bottlenecks.
“We are seeing tangible benefits from this already, in the way of faster throughput times on loans and cleaner, smoother output,” Christian said.
The improvements were put to work immediately. Because of market conditions and industry activity in the past year, some clients began approaching RCDC with deposit requests to increase their liquidity positions.
One example is Carver State Bank, a community development financial institution (CDFI) and minority depository institution (MDI) in Savannah, Georgia.
We appreciate the quick work the RCDC team did to execute this deposit for us. Robert James II, president of Carver Financial Corporation and executive vice president of Carver State Bank
The RCDC already had a $1 million preferred stock investment with Carver Financial Corporation, parent company of Carver State Bank. Thanks in part to their recent efforts to be more nimble, the RCDC was able to respond quickly to Carver’s request and allowed the institution to secure an additional $4 million in the form of a certificate of deposit (CD).
“Technology played a role in the ability to move fast on that deal,” said Ben Brady, relationship manager for the RCDC. “By utilizing the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) program administered by the IntraFi Network, RCDC was able to make a significantly larger-than-usual deposit while maintaining FDIC insurance on the entire deposit.”
CDARS allows a business to invest in CDs held by FDIC-insured banking institutions, so it can achieve full FDIC coverage for the total sum.
“We appreciate the quick work the RCDC team did to execute this deposit for us,” said Robert James II, president of Carver Financial Corporation and executive vice president of Carver State Bank. “The transaction helped Carver to enhance our balance sheet at a critical time and make more deep-impact loans in our community. We’re grateful for the continued alliance.”
Christian reinforced the importance of the relationship, saying, “Carver is an important client for us. They provide critical banking services to low- and moderate-income areas in Savannah. They also recently acquired a majority stake in Alamerica Bank, located in Regions’ headquarters city of Birmingham, Alabama. We are excited about future opportunities to collaborate and serve these two important communities.”