“What a great start to 2022!”
David Christian, head of Community Development Lending and Investments and Regions Community Development Corporation chief operating officer, expresses well-earned excitement about the momentum his team is experiencing already this year.
Regions Community Development Corporation, or 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 corporation was launched in late 2020 and has made significant progress on their commitment to create inclusive prosperity in the communities that Regions Bank serves.
RCDC recently announced $2 million equity investment in Optus Bank. And now, RCDC has closed three additional equity investment deals in the first month of 2022. The first is a $1 million investment in Southern Bancorp, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and public-benefit corporation based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. CDFIs are private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities.
Regions has a strong commitment to collaborating with and investing in CDFIs and MDIs, and these relationships help further our shared goals to empower communities of color and help close the racial wealth gap.
David Christian, head of Community Development Lending and Investments and Regions Community Development Corporation chief operating officer
This RCDC equity investment provides capital to enable Southern Bancorp to further their mission “to create economic opportunity in rural and underserved communities by providing responsible and responsive financial products and services that balance profits with purpose.” The investment will also generate a return to RCDC in the form of dividends.
“Southern Bancorp serves an area that includes the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta, one of America’s most persistently poor regions,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp. “Our 51 locations are located in many communities that are considered ‘bank deserts’, where predatory payday lenders and other high-cost financial options are often more visible than banks, and our focus is on providing those families living there with responsible and responsive wealth building alternatives.”
“Regions’ investment will enable us to enhance our focus on housing, jobs and savings – which we know are key drivers for moving people out of poverty,” Williams said.
Another key investment of RCDC the last few weeks is with the Texas Mezzanine Fund, a CDFI based in Dallas that works to increase the number of minority-owned businesses, as well as the rehabilitation and expansion of existing businesses, in distressed and underserved communities throughout Texas.
“Minority-owned small businesses are critical components of our local economies, and access to capital is a real challenge,” said Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs at Regions Bank. “I’m pleased that the $800,000 equity investment in the Texas Mezzanine Fund will help that organization to stimulate business growth and employment and promote inclusive prosperity in this important market for Regions.”
The third deal that closed in January for Christian and the team is with Carver Financial Corporation, a small community bank in Savannah, Georgia. Carver Financial is a CDFI, and also a Minority Depository Institution (MDI), which is a federal-insured depository institution for which 51% or more of the voting stock is owned by minority individuals; or a majority of the board of directors is minority and the community that the institution serves is predominantly minority.
This $1 million equity investment from RCDC will assist Carver financial in their efforts to support low and moderate-income, or LMI, communities.
“The Carver Financial investment is a very important one for RCDC,” said Christian. “Regions has a strong commitment to collaborating with and investing in CDFIs and MDIs, and these relationships help further our shared goals to empower communities of color and help close the racial wealth gap.”
Though RCDC has had a strong start to the year, the work certainly hasn’t slowed down. Many other deals are in the pipeline and Christian and the team look forward to sharing progress as they continue this important work to revitalize communities and improve lives throughout the Regions footprint.
More information about RCDC is available in the Community Engagement section of regions.com.