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Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

South Side Credit Union CEO Asks Clergy to Promote ‘Save Black’ Program

Posted by Admin On September - 17 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Calls for ‘Buy Black’ campaign

By Chinta Strausberg

Asking churches to practice what they preach and to lead the way for financial freedom for their members, Gregg H. Brown, President/CEO of the South Side Community Federal Credit Union (SSCFCU), urged black churches to be the beacon of light in launching a ‘Buy Black’ and ‘Save Black’ campaign in memory of the late Dr. Webb Evans.

Brown, whose union is located at 5401 So. Wentworth, Suite 25 in the Grand Boulevard shopping plaza, is passionate about Africa Americans supporting their own financial institutions. He is a supporter of the late Dr. Evans’ “Buy Black” program. Evans died on February 23, 2015 at the age of 101. He spent his life asking African Americans to support their own businesses by “buying black.”

Mr. Brown is equally passionate about the mission of the SSCFCU, which is to “equalize economic power and fight poverty through holistic financial education and by providing access to credit and savings services for its members.”

Quoting Dr. Claud Anderson’s the author of, “Powernomics,” Brown said, “He states that $500 million is taken in by the black church each Sunday, and a lion share of those funds are placed in majority-owned financial institutions,” said Brown during WVON’s Bob Shaw show produced and hosted by Chinta Strausberg.

“After being in the banking and financing business for more than 30-years, I would like to see a greater relationship established between black-owned faith-based institutions and black-owned and operated financial institutions.”

According to Brown, in the early 1900 there appeared to be a greater relationship between the two especially during the post Great Depression era when blacks were forced to do business with one another.

“The Defender newspaper would promote the North, particularly Chicago, as being the promised land of opportunity. More and more people from the South migrated North during the Great Migration and populated in the Bronzeville community as we know it today.”

Back then; Brown said it was called the Black Metropolis. “It was a time that signified a black economy established as a result of blacks doing business with one another.” “We had black insurance companies that put their money in black banks. We had small black businesses, tailors, shoe smiths who put their money in black financial institutions.

“At that time, white banks did not want our money. The churches were included in that group that put funds in black banks,” he said. Brown, who began his career at the Illinois Federal Service, which is the oldest black-owned and operated financial institution in Chicago, said, “On Sunday’s I would regularly see people like Rev. Clay Evans and Bishop Louis Ford who had accounts where I worked.”

While initially white banks did not want to do business with blacks, Brown said, “It was discovered (by white banks) that these black churches represented a lot of wealth and opportunity for majority-owned institutions and they began courting the black preachers. They would have faith based departments that would roll out the red carpet for them and treat the pastors as if they were kings,“ Brown said.

“Coupled by our leadership not necessarily putting banks at the forefront of our economic plight, we got written out of the equation to liberate African Americans to a greater degree. We can achieve some degrees of success dealing with any financial institution, but if we want to be liberated, we have to understand the value of saving in our own communities,” said Brown.

Referring to many activists who talk about the value of buy black campaign, Brown added, “Very rarely do we make the strong point about saving black.”

According to Brown, at one time in Chicago there were seven black-owned banks. “We had a pretty rich history off of 35th and State Street…the old Overton Building and in that building we had the first national bank named after Frederick Douglas. On State Street at the other end of the corner was Binga State Bank.” Brown said those were the first state and national banks that were owned by African Americans.

“They are no longer here today, but the Illinois Service Federal is still here.” Nationally, Brown said in 2009 there were 45 black banks. “Now, we’re down to a mere 21. We only have two black banks left in Chicago out of the seven.” And they are Seaway National Bank and Illinois Service Federal Bank.

Representing his credit union, Brown said, “We’re a community development financial institution, and we are the first and only community development credit union owned and operated by African Americans serving the South Side of Chicago.”

Brown said “both Seaway and Illinois Service Federal are great financial institutions worthy of our support to remain solvent since many of our black-owned financial institutions have taken a hit because most of our clientele are African Americans who have been hit the hardest by the economy,” said Brown.

“Many African Americans have our wealth in our homes, but during the housing fallout they lost their homes to foreclosure and that hurt the banks that made the loans to them,” he explained.

“Often times black banks are criticized for not being competitive as our counterparts, but many of our counterparts, like a lot of the larger banks, got government bailout money enabling them to expand their technology platform which increased the competition amongst black financial institutions. They were able to capture a greater percentage of our market share because of convenience.

“We‘ve got to see the value of saving black, saving in the community. When you get loans from black banks or black credit unions, if you don’t pay anybody else back, pay these institutions back because they represent an investment in our future. They represent our ability to invest in more start-up and existing business growth and expansion enabling our communities to create jobs.

“In the absence of that as long as we continue without question putting our money into white banks, though we have that freedom of choice, it is not a scenario that will elevate our cause as a group. It is like planting seeds on barren soil,” Brown pointed out.

“Every other nationality of people that I know have their money in their own financial institutions but us. “If the white banks have 98 percent of the black saving dollars, we should not be holding our black institutions accountable for what they cannot do,” said Brown. “We have to hold ourselves as individuals accountable for what we can do to invest in these institutions so they can better invest in us.”

“I think that a more practical approach on the subject ought to be from the standpoint of how powerful we can become as a people by uniting our dollars. The truth is…we are only as strong as our dollars united.

Faith and finance represents the key ingredient to our economic empowerment. “When the churches see the value of saving in the community as part of stewardship, then what is preached on Sunday becomes what we practice on Monday, Tuesday…. where we are using our money as good stewards to administer more services to the poor and disenfranchised.

“It makes no sense to preach one thing and invest in the very opposite of that as soon as we walk out of those doors,” said Brown. Saying he is not criticizing churches that do that because they have the freedom of choice, Brown explained, “I would like to see members in every church hold the pastors and trustee boards more accountable to place their hard earned tithing dollars in depositories that have a track record of investing in people who look like them.”

On faith and finance, Brown said, “That is the whole key to revitalizing our communities because…doing the right thing, holding ourselves to a higher moral standard of behavior and trusting that we’re doing what we’re called to do as Christians to make life better for our fellow man. We can’t have two separate conversations about faith and finances because they go hand-in-hand.

“It is practicing what we preach. If we preach salvation, we also have to be about economic salvation,” said Brown. “In the absence of that some people may go to heaven, but we want to give everybody an opportunity to not only go to heaven but to survive and thrive while we are here on earth. When we do that, then we are planting seeds in fertile soil and there is no stopping us. It’s better to be in a position to be pro-active rather than reactive….

“I believe we must hold the political and judicial system accountable for the justices that we are entitled to as American citizens but at the same time hold ourselves to a higher degree of economic accountability by how and where we save. To save black, saves blacks. If you want to save black, then save black.

“If you don’t want to put all of your money in a black financial institution, you don’t have to,” said Brown. “You can just plant some seeds into it. Put some funds there and see if we can service your loan needs first,” he said. “That is how financial institutions stay in business. We take funds in for deposits as financial intermediaries and we lend those funds to people to buy homes, cars, start businesses…save money for a rainy day…for retirement….”

When asked what can he offer the ministers, Brown said, “I can offer them a vehicle for change. I would like the pastors to consider another alterative to how they are currently dealing with their banking needs in an effort to transform our communities into areas of safety and stability rather than ones of poverty and crime. If we want different results, we have to do something differently.”

Brown said the credit union is mission based. “Our mission is to economically empower our members; so if churches are our members, it is our mission to empower them and the people they serve. We offer traditional and non-traditional products, services, and programs that have been strategically designed to create pathways to prosperity.

“We offer financial education classes, one-on-one credit and housing counseling, low interest rate loans for home, business, auto, debt consolidation and more. We have so much to offer. I understand that we currently cannot be equally competitive as our banking counterparts in the area of technology and convenience because they make it so easy to bank with them.

“However, we have to go through growing pains to get to where the larger banks are, and we cannot do that by ourselves. We were established to serve the same people the churches serve. Churches save souls, we save money. We’re both in the saving business and must work more closely together to save more people. We have innovative product lines that help people get out of debt and build wealth.

“For example, we have these wonderful faith based development accounts. We are the only financial institution on the planet that has them,” Brown said explaining he designed them. “It is an account where churches can put money into the credit union and they will serve as a securitized loan fund for members of their congregation who may need some financial assistance rather than give them money out of the benevolent fund to assist these families.

“They can refer them to the credit union to see if they qualify for a loan on their own. If they don’t, the church can back that loan from their account.

“The beauty of this account is that the family gets what they need to remedy their problem…. As they pay the loan back, the payments are reported to the credit bureau under the name of the church member and it helps their credit score to go up. It also helps the church grow its account balance for development purposes.”

Brown said they also provide the borrowers with counseling on managing their finances and can also act as a resource to the church itself in securing financing. “It’s all about leveraging resources before they make it to the mainstream economy,” said Brown.

“Right now, we (many of our churches, unknowingly) take our money directly to the mainstream economy before those resources can be leveraged to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods where we live, work and worship” said Brown.

“It’s really commonsense….” Brown said his credit union also offers a “Wealth and Wellness” program, which is a community health incentive program that helps people increase their wealth while improving their health. “We have combined financial education with healthcare education. To enroll in the program, a person opens up a Healthcare Investment account which pays a person monetary incentives for engaging in activities that improve their health.”

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; so early detection means that a person should at least go to the doctor every year.” The credit union will pay them for getting an annual physical examination. Bring back proof that you have seen the doctor and we will credit your account $10.00.”

On obesity, Brown said, “There is this correlation between poor health and poverty. We want to combat that by improving wealth and health. There are over 77 million people in this country who are obese and there is a higher concentration of obesity in the African American communities. If a person loses weight, we will pay them $1 per pound up to 50 pounds over a six-month period.”

Brown said if their blood pressure is high and it is lowered within three months their account will be credited $5.00. If they go on a health-related walk or run, they will be given a monetary incentive of $5 per event. “If we can increase our funding for these incentives, then we can pay people more.

“ With health care reform in this country having a greater focus on prevention, we ought to be able to tap into more resources to keep people healthy,” he said. “We want to reduce the number of chronic illnesses that are literally killing our community. Many people who did not have health care insurance before and who may not be enrolled in an employee incentive program on their job can now reap the health and wealth building benefits from this program.”

According to Brown, employers who have fewer than 50 employees are not required to offer health benefits. Many small businesses have even discontinued health insurance coverage encouraging employees to enroll in outside programs.

“Keeping a person healthy on the job improves productivity. It reduces the insurance expense on that company if the person gets sick…..” “This program is for everybody in the community who doesn’t have the luxury of having an employee incentive program on your job.

“Through health awareness and money management, we teach people how to save money by adopting a healthier lifestyle while rewarding them to stay healthy,” said Brown. “We’re the only ones in the country who offers this. I know because I designed it. “We want to raise more money so we can increase those incentives.

“We actually care about the people we serve because we are the same people; whereas banks are profit-driven. They don’t necessarily care about saving lives as much as making a profit, but we are mission-driven truly in the saving business. We want to save lives, save money, and save communities….

“Until we alleviate poverty, we’re going to continue to have a whole lot of ill-nourished people in low income crime infested areas….So let us work together to build a better future for our children through faith and finance…buying black, saving black and with the help of God, building black,” Brown told this reporter.

“I’d like to compliment the black churches for being a strong anchor in the community by instilling a sense of strong morality and good Christian values,” said Brown.

Mr. Brown can be reached at: 773.548.5500 or e-mail him at sscfcu@sbcglobal.net. The credit unions website is: www.SouthSideCommunityFCU.org. Hours of Operation are: Monday and Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Closed: Tuesday and Thursday.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

HomeFree-USA to host second Meet the Lender Event

Posted by Newsroom On March - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CitiBank to headline session educating consumers on how to navigate the homebuying process

Hyattsville, MD – With the housing market on the upspring, HomeFree-USA, one of the nation’s largest homeownership development and HUD intermediaries, will be helping prospective homebuyers make 2013 their year for homeownership with a free Meet the Lender Event Saturday, March 16.

Meet the Lender is a series of free events designed to connect prospective homebuyers with the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. CitiBank will be the featured lender at the March 16th event, held at the HomeFree-USA headquarters in Hyattsville, MD. Participants will gain insight into the homebuying process and learn about some of the unique products and programs that CitiBank has to offer for consumers.

The Meet the Lender event is designed to inspire, empower and inform consumers. Attendees will learn how to get their finances ready for homeownership, find out how to avoid costly homebuying mistakes, and position themselves to save thousands over the lifetime of a mortgage. Prospective homebuyers will also hear successful stories of homeownership designed to help them to thrive as future homeowners.

“We are thrilled to host this important community event for homebuyers,” said Marcia Griffin, president of HomeFree-USA. “Each event will help prospective homebuyers to make the choices and decisions they need to be successful homeowners.”

About Meet the Lender

The CitiBank session is the second in an ongoing series of Meet the Lender events that will be held throughout 2013. Each event will feature a different lender who will give attendees the information they need to successfully navigate the homebuying process.

For more information about the March 16 Meet the Lender event, consumers can go to http://www.homefreeusa.org/events or RSVP by calling 301-891-8423.

About HomeFree-USA

HomeFree-USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization that specializes in homeownership development, foreclosure intervention and financial empowerment. Based in the Washington, DC metro area, HomeFree-USA delivers services across the country through its nationwide network of faith- and community-based nonprofit partners. The HomeFree-USA network represents the interests of 4.5 million homeowners and homebuyers. HomeFree-USA enjoys a 0% foreclosure rate among families that have participated in its pre-purchase homeownership preparation program. To learn more, visit http://www.homefreeusa.org/&n bsp;

Bank of America partners with Windy City Habitat For Humanity

Posted by Admin On November - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL  – On November 16th, Bank of America employees will be hard at work in West Pullman on Windy City Habitat for Humanity’s new project on Union Avenue between 119th and 120th Streets.  Two houses are under construction as part of an overall revitalization effort that will result in affordable housing for 16 families.  Along with volunteering, Bank of America donated $80,000 to support building efforts in this community.

“Bank of America is an excellent partner to Windy City Habitat for Humanity.  They are rolling up their sleeves to build and providing important funding for our revitalization efforts.  We are thrilled to have Bank of America working with us on this project.  Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to make an impact in West Pullman.” said Jennifer Parks, Habitat’s Executive Director.  Parks noted that affordable housing is a major concern in Chicago with over 259,000 people in Chicago having a critical housing need.

“Bank of America is pleased to further Habitat’s efforts in our community and to provide affordable housing for working families,” said Tim Maloney, Illinois president, Bank of America.  “Creating more affordable housing is imperative in Illinois and in communities across the country.  Bank of America has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for the past 24 years, and I am thrilled that our team can help make families’ dreams of owning a home a reality.”

About Bank of America

Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility 

Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way across more than 100 markets around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create shared value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. Reaffirming a commitment to develop and sustain a culture of service, bank employee volunteers contributed more than 1.5 million hours in 2011 to enhance the quality of life in their communities worldwide. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

www.bankofamerica.com

About Windy City Habitat for Humanity

 

 

 
 

 

Windy City Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Windy City Habitat for Humanity seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in Chicago and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.  Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Windy City Habitat for Humanity has built ninety houses in various Chicago neighborhoods providing families with safe, decent and affordable housing.  Learn more about Windy City Habitat for Humanity at our website and follow us on Twitter — http://twitter.com/HabitatWindyCty — and Facebook — http://www.facebook.com/WindyCityHabitatforHumanity.

www.windycityhabitat.org

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How to not grow old broke

Posted by Admin On October - 23 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Devin Robinson

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Growing old is not something we can avoid, but growing old and broke is! I speak about the Consumption Theory in my latest book, Power M.O.V.E.: How to Transition from Employee to Employer. So many people have been enlightened by its practical approach and simplistic delivery but, honestly creating success really is kind of simple. The only tough part about my theory is your ability to execute on it.

The successful execution of the Consumption Theory boils down to your perspective and approach to money. It’s like the fork in the road. If you view money as a satisfier of today’s itch instead of a weapon against future threats you will struggle with being able to carry out the practices of the Consumption Theory and convert income into wealth. Resources are not all meant to be consumed immediately or sometimes, consumed by you at all. As an entrepreneur you must recognize when resources within your grasp should be used, consumed, stockpiled or used to reproduce more resources.

Let me sidebar for a second. When it comes to your income, before you splurge on anything it should qualify for one of four factors: you enjoy the source of the income (satisfying), it’s abundant (significant), it’s sustainable (reproducing), and has longevity (long-term).

The Consumption Theory allows you to live in an economic straight line no matter what is going on around you. Follow it and you won’t feel like you are on a financial roller coaster. You won’t be up and down in what you can or can’t do and you won’t find yourself going from side hustle to side hustle. No slow economy or market threats will easily impact your consumption. They will first affect the activities within the other detailed percentages outlined in the book, often leaving your personal lifestyle with no immediate affects.

Consumption Theory simply says that you should aim to live on 10% of your income if you expect to weather financial storms that WILL come: family emergencies, trauma, unemployment, unexpected repairs, slow economy, retirement, accidents, illnesses, etc.

Let me go through some examples of how you can incorporate the “Consumption Theory” into your life.

Popular Culture Example:
Salary = $100,000
Time = 20 years
Savings Rate = 10%
Consumption/Spending Rate = 90%
Retirement = $200,000 on hand
Lifestyle Sustainability upon Retirement = 2.2 years

Consumption Theory Example:
Salary = $100,000
Time = 20 years
Savings Rate = 90%
Consumption/Spending Rate = 10%
Retirement = $1.8 million
Lifestyle Sustainability upon Retirement = 90 years

All examples excluding inflation, increased tax burdens, health challenges and transfer payments.

Okay. Living to $10,000 (10% of example) in America in this day and age may prove difficult, not impossible just difficult. In this case you want to focus on increasing your earnings, not your spending.

For those of you who can’t set aside any portion of your income for an extended time I’ve coined your spending a “disease”; an addictive disease that may haunt you in your senior years, and sometimes immediately, unless you cure it or find a frugal spouse to offset your issue.

If the full consumption theory is too extreme for you, consider this modest example I calculated at 50% consumption. If you merely have a salary of $100,000 and you saved 50% of your income for 20 years you will have stocked $1 million. You will be able to live another 20 years on your nest egg at the same lifestyle, give or take inflation and health.

Pretty much, for every year you simply stockpiled 50% of your income equates to one year you won’t have to work while maintaining the same lifestyle.

The overall philosophy of the Consumption Theory is to not consume based on what you have, but instead consume based on what you want to have. This theory expedites the success rate of an entrepreneur.

Just be careful not to attach yourself to people in your young days that will make you miserable and regretful in your old days. Use having additional resources as an opportunity to have more, not as an opportunity to spend more and you will spend more time in bliss. Remember, arrogant people may get rich but humble people get wealthy.

Devin Robinson is a business and economics professor, serial entrepreneur, founder of Beauty Supply Institute and author of 8 books. His latest book is “Power M.O.V.E.: How to Transition from Employee to Employer”. Learn more about him at www.PowerMoveBook.com or www.DevinRobinson.com

Emerging ChangeMakers Network launches community loan fund

Posted by Admin On October - 1 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Mobile, AL (BlackNews.com) — The Emerging ChangeMakers Network (“ECN”) announced the launch of a rural wealth creation initiative to create a community loan fund targeted to Alabama’s historically under-served Black Belt, said Jessica Norwood, ECN Founder and Director.

The community loan fund will present opportunities for impact investing in the support and expansion of rural food systems in Alabama’s Black Belt, both for financial institutions and individual investors.

The Black Belt is a rural farming area consisting of almost two dozen contiguous counties where most of Alabama’s local food is produced. ECN’s Community Loan Fund Initiative is the first project to target support for food production and distribution in the Black Belt.

The Ford Foundation began funding ECN’s rural wealth creation plans in 2010 to implement ECN’s goal of connecting emerging leaders in Alabama, first to each other, then back to their communities. “We now have a network of activists who can stay involved with their home or adopted communities, even if they have moved from the area,” Ms. Norwood said.

“The great tragedy for rural underserved communities is that they lose so many young local activists as they become young adults. Emerging leaders who once could have stayed and established continuity and growth are now moving away to find jobs. Yet our emerging leaders tell us there is a longing to improve the communities that nurtured them and made them what they are today,” she said.

“ECN was created in 2007 to identify and connect those emerging leaders to their communities and to each other, as well as to share strategies for local support and problem solving. Thanks to the Ford Foundation and our community partnerships, ECN is a force for progress, both for the region and for its emerging leaders,” Ms. Norwood said.

About Jessica Norwood, ECN Founder and Director

Jessica Norwood is a political consultant who has managed campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Following Hurricane Katrina, she founded the Emerging Changemakers Network in 2007 to organize native professionals and activists and re-patriate them with their home communities through local leadership initiatives.

Photo Caption: Jessica Norwood, Founder & President of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network

 

ND Publishing launches an innovative financial literacy tool – “Why We Go Broke?”

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — ND Publishing releases Why We Go Broke?, a financial lecture that mixes music, humor and financial literacy. The audio CD looks at the financial decisions of a fictional basketball player. The lecture takes the listener through his journey from financial ignorance to knowledge.

According to FINRA’s Financial Capability Study, it was found that the average American needed to improve their financial knowledge. The study yielded the following:

* Making Ends Meet. 20% of individuals reported that over the past year, their household spent more than their income.

* Planning Ahead. 60% of individuals lack a “rainy day” fund to cover expenses for three months, in case of emergencies such as sickness, job loss or economic downturn.

* Managing Financial Products. 24% of individuals reported using one or more non-bank borrowing methods in the past five years.

* Financial Knowledge and Decision-Making. On average, individuals answered three out of five financial literacy questions correctly. In addition, 62% of individuals said that, when obtaining their most recent credit card, they did not collect and compare information about cards from more than one company.

Why We Go Broke? provides listeners with practical information concerning personal finance, investing, and retirement planning. People who lack financial literacy pay more for financial services, have higher debt and have less money for retirement. The lecture chooses a basketball player to illustrate what can happen without proper financial management. According to Sports Illustrated, it was estimated in 2009 that 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retiring from the game. The NBA recently announced that players will be forced for the first time to save money for retirement.

Investing, retirement planning and estate planning are all topics that are covered in Why We Go Broke? The lecture is presented by Narcisse Dargenson. Narcisse Dargenson holds a B.A. from Johnson C. Smith University and a MBA from Georgia Southern University. Why We Go Broke? is available at Amazon.com and iTunes.com. The lecture brings humor and creativity to a serious subject.

About N.D. Publishing

N.D. Publishing is a creative publishing company that is dedicated to publishing creative, innovative and thought provoking expressions to the world.

Photo Caption: Audio CD cover

Black Bankers’ President warns churches: Change the way you do business

Posted by Admin On June - 13 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

By Hazel Trice Edney

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – (TriceEdneyWire.com) – The head of a national Black bankers organization is warning that growing foreclosures upon churches across America indicate that houses of worship must quickly change the way they do business or possibly face a national crisis.

“A trend in church foreclosures is causing national leaders representing African-American communities all over America to focus their attention on potential solutions to avert an impending crisis,” writes Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association in a three-page report, released exclusively to the Trice Edney News Wire. “With the advent of the mega-church as a phenomenon, church leaders are being forced to rethink their growth strategies.”

At least 138 church properties were sold by banks last year and about 270 around the nation since 2010, according to CoStar, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information company. Ninety percent of the sales reportedly result from foreclosure.

On March 6, Reuters reported, “Banks are foreclosing on America’s churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages, according to new data…The surge in church foreclosures represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash, analysts say, with many banks no longer willing to grant struggling religious organizations forbearance.”

According to Grant, whose organization has a membership of 37 banks, he sees no major disparity between the numbers of foreclosures upon Black and White congregations. However, he writes, “A preliminary analysis of many African-American churches that pursued aggressive expansion strategies has yielded a few interesting and common patterns.”

He ticks off the patterns as follows:

*Expansion efforts were not usually directed by financial plans constructed by individuals who had the expertise to give church leaders sound financial advice.

*Many financial decisions by those who oversee aggressive expansion strategies were not rooted in frugal planning or monitored by systems of accountability.

*Record-keeping is often not dictated by accepted accounting practices.

*Lending institutions are oftentimes not contacted early enough to avail the church of bank assistance in the forms of loan modifications or forbearance.

*Many church leaders mistakenly believe that bank assistance is available after foreclosure procedures have begun. In reality, by the time the church is being foreclosed on, the bank has exhausted all of the remedies at its disposal.

Grant concludes that though many church decisions are made based on faith and visionary leadership, “The church must be thought of as a business.”

He states, “Just as the hospital exists to promote physical health and wellness, it is nonetheless a business. The church’s business is to promote spiritual health and well-being. It is also a business. If sound business principles are not adhered to, the church jeopardizes its ability to provide a valuable benefit to its congregants.”

Church leaders across the nation are being impacted by the economic crisis, not only causing a shortage in the collection plate, but the decreased ability to help parishioners in financial trouble and difficulty paying its own bills, including staff salaries and mortgages. Though small and middle-sized congregations are seeing more foreclosures, even mega-churches have not been exempt from drastic measures.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the 30,000-member Potter’s House in Dallas, said he was forced to make major cuts three years ago in order to avoid doom.

“Membership has gone up. Income has gone down. We’ve laid off about 40 people from our staff. We’ve had to make some hard choices. We’ve had to curtail some of the services that we’ve normally had to provide to the community because our resources are hard hit. I’m getting calls from pastors all over the country who are downsizing, cutting back on services, cutting back on office hours because they are being adversely affected by this also,” he said in an interview with this reporter.

Currently, church organizational leaders are exploring new ways to operate financially as they await improvement in the economy. The Rev. Dr. Franklyn Richardson, chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC), says understanding more about banking, how it works and specifically how Black banks can help abate financial crisis in churches is on his agenda. He agrees that the Black church, as an institution, does not fully understand how best to relate to banks.

“I don’t think we actually do. I also don’t think we take advantage of what our collective deposits could demand on Monday mornings after Sunday,” said Richardson after holding a session on economics and the Black community during a CNBC meeting late last month. “So, we’re looking at – especially given the electronics today, if we were able to bring our Sunday morning deposits together electronically and leverage them in the market, how that could change or have impact on how we can get banking services in our communities. That’s what we’re talking about now.”

Bishop Eugene Ward, Pastor of Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio is also board member of CNBC, which comprises nine denominations and an estimated reach of over 10 million parishioners across the U. S. He says church officials are sometimes actually leery of Black banks.

“I really believe that in most cases we find ourselves being careful when it comes to Black institutions. And we migrate more to Caucasian institutions because of our ignorance and our lack of trust for those who are in Black banking,” Ward says. “The dry answer and a very good example for us is that many of us look to them to favor us and we abuse them rather than cooperate with them to do the same things that we would do with Caucasian institutions.”

Ward adds that church leaders have a skewed view of banks in general.

“We really only want banks for money, but a lot of us right now can’t really afford to pay back,” he said. “And because of banking practices, now Caucasian agencies have turned to where they are really not operating to lend money to Black churches any more, now we’re finding ourselves in really dire straits because we don’t have anyone to turn to. Had we started to invest with the credit unions and the Black institutions, I feel that we would be in much better shape.”

Grant outlines 12 basic facts that church leaders need to know about banks. Among them are the following:

*Churches that seek their bank’s help or assistance as soon as a problem with making payments arises stand a far greater chance of avoiding foreclosure.

*Loans to churches are classified as commercial (or business) loans.

*Proportionately and historically, African-American banks make and have made the largest percentage of all loans to Black churches.

*Loans are the primary sources of revenue for banks.

*Foreclosures could cause banks to diminish their loan loss reserves and negatively impact the community and real estate values.

Ultimately, Grant writes that churches must become more like businesses as they seek to survive in the current economic climate:

“Identifying qualified financial counselors and utilizing certified accountants is no longer a luxury. If the church is to survive to continue its work, it must have an organization structure that resembles the modern corporation.”

Physics Scholar says “Black Dollars are the new Black Power”

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Corvallis, OR (BlackNews.com) — Blacks represent 13.6% of the U.S. population with a purchasing power of nearly 1 trillion, according to the recent State of the African-American Consumer Report gathered by information and analytics company Nielsen. However, less than three cents of every dollar return to Black-owned businesses. And at 16%, the national unemployment rate among African Americans is disproportionately high.

“A majority of our resources are spent outside of our own community, while the goods and services we offer are rarely extended to the international market. Because of that, the economic disparity is self-inflicted,” says Michael Mansell, a physics student at Oregon State University, pictured left in striped among his colleagues.

According to Mansell, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in the United States are predominantly non-Black, and other groups are profiting from the African American consumer market. When this happens, the wealth gets drained from the Black community and invested in businesses, organizations, institutions, and programs that benefit other communities, where those dollars tend to remain. When the immense spending power of African Americans gets funneled into Black owned entities, those dollars return to the community, recycle, and reappear in the form of jobs, programs, and resources that ultimately benefit the Black consumer.

In response to this, Mansell, himself, has launched MDM International Enterprises, an online superstore that sells thousands of unique products. This is a for profit company, however community reinvestment remains the primary focus of this business model. Mansell hopes MDM International Enterprises will one day join the ranks of Walmart, Best Buy, and other such retailers.

Mansell is currently working on his PhD and has developed a sound solution to the economic disparity of the Black community. Drawn from studies of quantum physics, sociology, economics and other areas, his theory is called Nuclear Economics. Our economy is a physical system with definite properties. When certain sectors of that system are stimulated in controlled increments, the outcome can be predicted and the results, measured. Using algorithms Mansell creates what are called “stable pseudo jobs.”

Mansell has determined that introducing a controlled amount of “perturbations” into the correct part of the economic system would boost the whole economy in a relatively short period of time. Introducing the right amount of “perturbations” would yield a chain reaction of perpetual growth, hence the name “Nuclear Economics.” That exact amount of “perturbations” is also calculated using Mansell’s algorithms. What he is looking to do now, with the help of others, is put his theories into practice. He is launching Let’s Evolve, a nonprofit that will serve to institute these initiatives.

He comments, “We need to change our spending habits. We need to tell our friends and family to support Black owned companies whenever possible, to purposely and eagerly seek out black businesses to patronize. We need to leverage our economic power so that we can get more money back into our own community.”

Mansell would like for Nuclear Economics to help the Black community progress to a point where Black owned companies claim a fair share of the international market and also produce a majority of the products purchased by Black consumers. He insists this is not about exclusion, as the economy as a whole would ultimately benefit. However, he still maintains that the economic empowerment of the African American Community must start from within.

“I’ve collected data over the years, while studying sociology, economics, business, math, and physics. Albeit, in my theories, all these principles are at work, but no one has to be a physicist to understand that buying from Black businesses means more jobs for Black people. That’s just plain common sense,” he says.
About Michael Mansell
Michael Mansell, engineer, entrepreneur, and scholar, first introduced his theory of Nuclear Economics in 2010. He developed the framework for his concepts while studying at California Polytech University in Pomona, where he worked as a teacher. His research in nanotechnology led to publication in Physics Letters A. Currently, Mansell is enrolled at Oregon State University’s Graduate School of Physics and he is also working as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) in that program.

For more information about MDM International Enterprises, visit www.mdmie.com. To learn more about Nuclear Economics, subscribe to the Let’s Evolve newsletter, visit www.letusevolve.org. There is a onetime fee of $20.00 for a lifetime subscription.

To make a donation to support Nuclear Economics research and initiatives, send a check or money order payable to Let’s Evolve, 1218 NW 23rd St. Unit #3, Corvallis OR 97330.

For more details, visit www.letusevolve.org

Photo Caption: Michael Mansell (front center) with members of his research group at Oregon State University

Unique program offers much-needed assistance to women in debt

Posted by Admin On June - 7 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 The “Debt Help For Women” program offers debt management and counseling services designed to help thousands of women reduce their debt, avoid bankruptcy and rebuild their credit

24/7 Toll-Free Hotline Set Up For Women to Call Anytime at (866) 945-7406

Nationwide – The Debt Help For Women Program is a unique debt management program that specializes in helping women eliminate their debt in months instead of years, thereby saving thousands without filing for bankruptcy. To date, the program has already helped thousands of women, and aims to help thousands more.

The program helps women who are tired of fighting the losing battle of never seeing their debt balances go down, finding it hard just to make the minimum payment, and their desire to take control of their finances. According to them, the main advantage of their program is that interested ones can talk to a live consultant before they make any decisions.

How It Works:

The process starts with a free consultation with a member of their underwriting staff. They will work with you on the phone in total confidence in a completely private conversation to review your current financial picture, and suggest a means of dealing with your debt while still providing for your family. Once this is done, a person can decide whether or not to start the enrollment process.

For more details or to get started, visit www.DebtHelpForWomen.org or call (866) 945-7406 to speak to a live debt consultant. Consultants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

OneUnited Bank launches new economy boost programs and national ad campaign

Posted by Admin On May - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Offers Down Payment Assistance and More

Boston, MA (BlackNews.com) — OneUnited Bank recently launched the Economy Boost Program that provides up to $1,200 towards closing costs for a home loan, to qualified applicants, in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles. In its ongoing effort to assist consumers in “boosting” their budgets, OneUnited is pleased to announce several new programs for qualified applicants including:
 

EQUITY BUILDER PROGRAM – DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE*


OneUnited Bank was recently approved for the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Equity Builder Program. OneUnited is offering down payment assistance of up to $10,000 for first‐time home buyers who meet certain eligibility requirements. MULTI‐FAMILY LOANS – OneUnited Bank is among the top 100 multi‐family lenders in the country, lending on properties with 5 to 50 units, including HUD Affordable Housing Units (Section 8).

HOME LOAN PROGRAM

OneUnited Bank is expanding its Home Loan Program, which focuses on homes with 1 to 4 units, in all of its markets.

ECONOMY BOOST – SAVE UP TO $1,200 IN CLOSING COSTS**

OneUnited Bank will pay up to $1,200 for the cost of appraisal, credit report, and other closing costs for owner occupied single family homes in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles, for qualified buyers. This offer can be combined with the Equity Builder down payment assistance.
In addition, OneUnited is rolling out its first ever national television advertising campaign in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles. “OneUnited is passionate about its mission to make our inner cities stronger by leveraging their spending power and reinvesting those funds into urban communities,” said Kevin Cohee, Chairman & CEO of OneUnited Bank. “Our nationwide ad campaign provides a greater platform for raising awareness of our many products and services designed to boost customer budgets and meet their personal needs.”

For more information about OneUnited Bank and its services, visit the website at www.oneunited.com or call (877) One‐United or (877) 663‐8648. To see the new advertisement, visit www.oneunited.com/TVad.

About OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank (www.oneunited.com), a Minority Depository Institution (MDI) and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is a nine time recipient of the Bank Enterprise Award from the U.S. Department of Treasury due to its focus on community development lending. Its mission is to be the premier bank serving urban communities by promoting financial literacy and offering affordable financial services. OneUnited has grown through a combination of organic development and by acquiring community banks that share its mission, including Boston Bank of Commerce in Boston, Massachusetts, Founders National Bank and Family Savings Bank in Los Angeles, California, and Peoples National Bank of Commerce in Miami, Florida.
*Households with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (based on the location of the property) may qualify for the Equity Builder Program. Other requirements apply. Offer only available while FHLB funds last and are offered on a first come, first serve basis, so apply today!

**OneUnited Bank will provide a credit up to $1,200 at closing to cover costs for appraisal, credit report, processing, underwriting, loan documents, tax transcript, tax service, flood certification, and flood monitoring fees for an OneUnited Bank single family loan in Massachusetts, Miami and Los Angeles. Payment for these services may be requested upfront and reimbursed or credited at closing. This promotion is valid for loan applications received prior to September 30, 2012 for the purchase or refinance of an existing single family or condo in OneUnited Bank’s lending areas in Massachusetts. One offer per household. Loan and credit qualifications apply. Please check with our representatives for our current annual percentage rate and full promotion rules.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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