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Public Meeting Transcripts
Public Meeting Regarding NationsBank and BankAmerica
Friday, July 10, 1998
Transcript of Panel Twenty-Seven
588 11 MS. SMITH: We'll start with Mr. Lee. 12 MR. LEE: Thank you. I am executive director 13 of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee, a 14 nonprofit, nonpartisan Asian American grass roots voter 15 registration education organization in San Francisco, 16 which operates throughout the Bay Area in immigrant 17 communities educating new communities about voter 18 registration and civic participation. We have been in 19 existence since 1976. 20 Our relationship with Bank of America began 21 over a decade ago when our local bank representative, 22 Irene D. Riley, then manager of the Chinatwon branch, 23 became one of the first supporters of voter 24 registration. Irene and the bank have supported us 25 generously every year since. 26 In 1995, Bank of America and the Asian 589 1 Business Association were the first to support our most 2 ambitious effort to reach new citizens through the first 3 coordinated bilingual print, television, radio, public 4 service campaign to encourage voter registration 5 participation amongst the new immigrant community, some 6 of them the most under-represented communities in the 7 Bay Area. 8 We developed and designed a public relations 9 campaign, I brought along a poster. Sort of like this 10 (indicating), in Chinese and English. This one campaign 11 alone over the last three years has helped us register 12 over 50,000 Asian American voters in the San Francisco 13 Bay Area, a phenomenal increase in terms of voter 14 registration for a new counter-community. We went from, 15 in 1991, from 13 percent of the registered voters in San 16 Francisco to, as of 1996, some 18 percent of the city's 17 registered voters, a phenomenal increase. 18 This would not have been possible without the 19 support of Bank of America, Irene and many of the 20 dedicated people that we work with at the bank. More 21 recently, we worked with Irene to develop a pole for 22 Chinese American voters in San Francisco to help better 23 understand the issues that were of interest to the 24 community. 25 Last year we -- last month we executed the 26 pole, and, for the first time, developed a comprehensive 590 1 plan as to what were the top priorities within our 2 community and Bank of America has led, in terms of its 3 support, in disseminating the results of the pole to 4 nonprofit groups, elected officials and other people in 5 positions of public policy. 6 We have been told by Bank of America and by 7 Irene E. Riley and others that this merger is good for 8 the health of the bank and that investment in the 9 community, charitable contributions, will increase and 10 not decrease with the merger, therefore, we are 11 supportive of the merger. 12 MS. SMITH: Thank you very much. Ms. Garcia. 13 MS. GARCIA: Good afternoon. I'm Donna 14 Garcia. I am the Executive Director of the Community 15 Housing Services located in Wichita, Kansas. My 16 organization is a chartered member of the National 17 Neighborhood Networks, which consists of 181 local work 18 -- local groups working throughout the United States at 19 the grass roots level improving housing standards and 20 promoting affordable housing. 21 We are a relatively new nonprofit, having 22 been formed less than three years ago. At the time that 23 we started, NationsBank stepped forward and provided us 24 with funding for development, not an easy risk to take 25 for an organization with no track record at all. They 26 recognized and made a commitment to the low and moderate 591 1 income residents of our community. 2 Since that time, we have continued to receive 3 both strong and consistent support financially and, more 4 importantly, perhaps, from NationsBank employees and 5 they serve on our board and on committees in several 6 different capacities. 7 We work to revitalize the lower-income 8 neighborhoods in Wichita, and we try to create healthy 9 communities by working with residents, business people, 10 government officials and other partners. These 11 partnerships join together and rehabilitate housing and 12 do provide home ownership opportunities for the low to 13 moderate income residents of our area. 14 We also identify and assist in the 15 development of resident leaders. We try to encourage 16 residents to work together and improve both the 17 appearance and the safety of their neighborhoods. 18 We collaborate with other organizations to 19 solve problems and improve the quality of life. 20 NationsBank has assisted us greatly, however, 21 by allowing us to channel local loan capital, mostly 22 through conventional lending forms, to lower income 23 communities. NationsBank has provided specialized loan 24 products that lower the down payment and the closing 25 costs and they have enabled us to assist home buyers in 26 purchasing their home. 592 1 They've also continued to provide operating 2 capital to our organization. This enables us to do 3 planning, outreach, marketing and counseling. These are 4 the first and the most critical steps in creating new 5 housing opportunities in our community. 6 In our community there is a significantly 7 underserved population located in the northeast area of 8 Wichita. NationsBank has led the redevelopment of that 9 area by opening a new branch in the heart of that 10 community. It resulted in nearly three-quarters of a 11 mile of new economic development in the area including 12 the fact that the City of Wichita has now gone in and 13 redone the streets in that area also. 14 Community Housing Services welcomes the 15 merger of NationsBank and Bank of America and truly 16 believes that it will lead to a significant expansion of 17 their investment in the distressed communities in 18 Wichita. CHS anticipates being able to maintain the 19 excellent relationship it has with this local partner 20 and appreciates the potential strength and support which 21 should result from a stronger national partner. A 22 national community bank development program can only 23 better the low and moderate income residents of our 24 area. 25 Thank you. 26 MS. SMITH: Yes, Ms. Fentress, you're next. 593 1 MS. FENTRESS: Good afternoon, my name is 2 Marvalette Fentress. I am the Executive Director of the 3 Third Ward Redevelopment Council in Houston, Texas. The 4 Third Ward Redevelopment Council, or TWRC, is a 5 community-based umbrella organization representing over 6 40 different organizations and institutions within the 7 greater Third Ward. We represent an area of 8 approximately 35,000 people, 12 different neighborhoods, 9 the majority of which are low and moderate income 10 families. 11 I am here today representing our organization 12 and the fact that we have six community development 13 corporations that work under our umbrella, and they are 14 intricately involved with the provision of affordable 15 housing and economic development opportunities within 16 that area. 17 I am here to support the merger between 18 NationsBank and Bank of America and speak specifically 19 on the relationship that we have been able to develop 20 over the last six years with both NationsBank and Bank 21 of America. They have basically supported several of 22 our initiatives to provide affordable housing and 23 business development opportunities in that area, and 24 they've served even in a greater capacity, not just as 25 a lending institution, but as a community partner and a 26 stakeholder in many of the things that we have tried to 594 1 undertake in that underserved part of Houston. 2 We support the merger because of the 350 3 billion, of course, increased lending opportunities 4 within that area, but we also support it for several 5 other related initives that the new bank proposes. One 6 of them in particular is the community development 7 intermediary financing that the merger will basically 8 impact. 9 We have, as I stated, six community 10 development organizations and many of them are in their 11 formative years, which means they are really struggling 12 in need of financial as well as technical assistance, 13 and NationsBank and Bank of America have proved 14 themselves to be supportive of these institutions. By 15 funding these intermediaries, we basically help to get 16 the financial and technical assistance to these 17 organizations directly. 18 Secondly, the Special Purpose Lending 19 Initiative, where NationsBank and Bank of America 20 basically realized the significance of supporting these 21 other types of institutions, religious institutions, 22 community-based organizations such as ours. 23 We are not involved directly with the bricks 24 and mortar of development. We are a planning and 25 coordinating organization. We help to facilitate the 26 development of these projects and NationsBank has 595 1 realized our significant contribution to actually making 2 a project happen, and we're very grateful for that. 3 We support NationsBank because of the 4 tremendous relationship that we've already experienced 5 with them and we think that past performance is probably 6 the greatest indicator of future performance, and they 7 have performed in an exemplary fashion with basically 8 our organization from inception. They serve on our 9 board of directors, every initiative that we undertake 10 they have been right there in the forefront as community 11 leaders and stakeholders. 12 So we urge you to support this merger, not 13 delay it in any way, because we feel that even a day's 14 delay in this merger in making those funds available to 15 these much needed communities could result in years 16 delay of low and moderate income family and realizing 17 their dream of home ownership and small business and 18 entrepreneur's realizing his dream of business. 19 I want to thank you for the opportunity to 20 speak to you. 21 MS. SMITH: Thank you. Any questions? No 22 questions, so we thank you very much for coming this 23 afternoon. Just a reminder, if you have any 24 supplemental comments, they will be due by a week from 25 today.
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