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Public Meeting Transcripts

Public Meeting Regarding NationsBank and BankAmerica

Thursday, July 9, 1998

Transcript of Panel Five


       1              MR. MARKS:  Hi.  My name is Bruce Marks.  I'm
       2   the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Assistance
       3   Corporation of America.  We are a nonprofit housing
       4   services, housing advocacy organization.  
       5              I am going to keep my remarks short and then
       6   have a few other people talk.  One thing with the Fed,
       7   let's be clear, ISB, I get my experience in two ways
       8   with the Federal Reserve.  One, I used to work for the
       9   Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  It dealt with CRA. 
      10   So it ain't real.  It's cosmetic.  Let's be clear on
      11   that.  From an insider's point of view, this is Ragtime.  
      12              Secondly, the only way that you can get their
      13   attention is if you take them on right between the eyes. 
      14   When we asked the Fed to look at Fleet Finance, which
      15   was one of the most predatory lenders in the country,
      16   the only way to get their attention was to blockade the
      17   Fed, meet with the Board of Governors in the board room
      18   and then make sure the switchboard couldn't operate,
      19   because thousands of people called the switchboard at
      20   one time and Alan Greenspan couldn't get an outside
      21   line.  
      22              So let's be clear where the Fed stands.
      23              Now, in terms of the NationsBank/Bank of
      24   America merger, we are absolutely in support of it.  We
      25   are absolutely in support, because it's unprecedented,
      26   when you have $350 billion.  


       1              So what we've heard here this morning is,
       2   well, is it real?  Is it just a nice big number that is
       3   too hard to requantify and does not -- whether it's
       4   real.
       5              So what we've asked is some of the thousands
       6   of homeowners who have benefited from what NationsBank
       7   has done to come here and talk about what's going to
       8   happen, not just in Charlotte and Jacksonville and
       9   Memphis and in Atlanta and Washington and Boston and
      10   around the country, but what's going to happen on the
      11   west coast as well.
      12              So, with that, let me introduce Mayo
      13   Thunderbird.  Mayo, he is from Atlanta and he is a
      14   person who has not only purchased a house but has
      15   renovated.  He can say it much better than I can.  
      16              MR. THUNDERBIRD:  Good morning.  You know,
      17   I've sat in here this morning and listened to a lot of
      18   people express a lot of different opinions.  And, you
      19   know, everybody has a right to an opinion, but I'm going
      20   to let you draw your opinion from my experience.  
      21              See, seven years ago, I was that homeless
      22   person on the street you might have passed on your way
      23   here.  I was that person sleeping in the stairwell of
      24   the gutter and wherever I could find a place.
      25              And then I decided to make a change in my
      26   life.  And, as a result of that, when I put my life back


       1   together, got married and had a small child, then I
       2   approached other lending institutions about, well, now I
       3   need a home to provide for my daughter.  
       4              The majority of them turned me away.  Some of
       5   them said, "We'll get back to you, you've got to do all
       6   this."  Well, they wanted all this money I didn't have.  
       7              So my wife and I heard about the NACA
       8   program.  We went to the NACA program.  And, even though
       9   I had a bad credit history, bad check history, because
      10   the bad checks and things I did to support my addiction,
      11   my wife had a bankruptcy due to some certain situations
      12   that occurred in her life, they helped us work through
      13   the application process to the point where, when we
      14   presented it to NationsBank, it was fine.
      15              And I have experience with the NationsBank
      16   process that tells me that what they say they're going
      17   to do, they're going to do.  I went to a rally when NACA
      18   came to Atlanta.  There was thousands of people.  I told
      19   my wife there is no way we're going to get into this
      20   process, there is just too many people.  God willing, we
      21   did.  
      22              I said, further on, there is no way we're
      23   going to get through this process, all the bad checks I
      24   wrote, your bankruptcy, but we did.
      25              And then when we got to the part where you
      26   presented the application to the bank, that's where the


       1   biggest surprise was.  The people in the NationsBank
       2   Mortgage Corporation office were more cooperative than I
       3   could have ever imagined.  They helped us through the
       4   difficulties, they helped us bring down the roadblocks
       5   that were in the way.
       6              See, they didn't have to do that.  We went to
       7   them asking them for help.  They turned around and they
       8   helped us.  So I say to you that's what you should be
       9   paying attention to.  What is the experience that people
      10   have had that have gone through the process that
      11   everybody is concerned might not be real?  Well, it's
      12   happened, I'm living proof of it today.
      13              So maybe that's where you should be focusing
      14   a little bit more of your attention, talk to the people
      15   you are talking to, listen to people in positions of
      16   authority in the charge of organizations that are
      17   designed to help the people get below that to the people
      18   that have benefited.  
      19              If they tell you it works, then I think your
      20   responsibility is to see that they live up to their
      21   word.  They said they were going to do it in Atlanta,
      22   they did.             
      23              Thank you.  
      24              MR. MARKS:  What Mayo didn't --  there is a
      25   lot to say, he purchased a house and he renovated it. 
      26   One of the important parts of what NationsBank does is


       1   you can purchase to stabilize your neighborhoods.
       2              Let me introduce Jenny McNabb.  Ms. McNabb
       3   had 12, she'll tell you, she had a predatory loan and
       4   it's a story that you've got to hear because she is just
       5   one of thousands of people who are going to be able to
       6   get out of a predatory loan into a mortgage that they
       7   can afford.  
       8              MS. McNABB:  My name is Jenny McNabb and I
       9   live in Atlanta, Georgia.  Several years ago I obtained
      10   a mortgage from Ford Consumer Finance.  This was a
      11   15-year mortgage at 12.4 percent interest with a balloon
      12   note at the end of 15 years of over $47,000.  
      13              I was told after a few months that this was
      14   indeed a very bad loan and they would be willing to
      15   refinance me at a cost of over $5,000.
      16              When I retired a little over a year ago, it
      17   became increasingly hard to make mortgage payments,
      18   utilities and other household bills.  I was at the point
      19   of almost losing my home when I was introduced to NACA.
      20              NACA not only refinanced my mortgage at 6.5
      21   percent through NationsBank, but also paid off some of
      22   my outstanding debts.  The insurance and taxes are
      23   included in my monthly payments, which was not the case
      24   with Ford.
      25              I feel that without the help that I received
      26   from NACA and NationsBank, I would have lost my home. 


       1   And I would recommend the refinancing at this time. 
       2              Thank you.             
       3              MR. MARKS:  So you keep hearing about
       4   NationsBank credit, but you don't know about the other
       5   side.  You don't hear Jenny McNabb.  You don't hear
       6   again about the thounsands of thousands of people that
       7   will get out of the loans by Ford, which is the largest
       8   predatory lender in the country.
       9              Let me introduce a first-time home buyer, let
      10   me see, Naomi Martin.  She's not only a first-time home
      11   buyer, but she knows about all the NACA deals in
      12   Washington            
      13              MS. MARTIN:  Good evening, everyone, my name
      14   is Naomi K. Martin and I'm from Washington D.C.  I'm a
      15   first-time home buyer.  Several years ago I decided that
      16   I wanted to get a loan and I went to several other
      17   institutions and I could not get it, not because I had
      18   bad credit, because I had no credit.  And all of you
      19   know, having no credit, is worse than having bad credit.
      20              So I went through the program, the NACA
      21   program.  The way I heard about it is because I dealt
      22   with the NACA loans, and I've seen people go in there
      23   and I've seen them get a rate at 6 percent, 7 percent
      24   and I said to myself, no, no, this is not, this is not
      25   true.  But by me working in that program and working
      26   with NationsBank, which NationsBank want you to have a


       1   home, I seen that this can be done.
       2              I wanted to get a home where I had did my
       3   roots, which is in Anacoco, and I got it there.  I did
       4   neighborhood community work there.  I was an ASC
       5   Commissioner, orange hat, and this is where I decided to
       6   buy my home, and I went through this program and I went
       7   with NationsBank, and I'm telling you today I am a
       8   first-time home owner.  
       9              And I am truly proud to stand up here and say
      10   that if you want to become a first-time home buyer, go
      11   through the NACA NationsBank program and I'm telling
      12   you, you will get your home.  It all depends on you
      13   yourself.  If you want a home, NationsBank says, "We'll
      14   supply you with a home."
      15              Thank you.  
      16              MR. MARKS:  Let me introduce the Hawkins, the
      17   Freddie Hawkins, which are again one of thousands of
      18   people who have benefited from what NationsBank has
      19   done.             
      20              MS. HAWKINS:  Our name is Freddie and
      21   Caroline Hawkins.  We are from Charlotte, North
      22   Carolina, and we got a home from NACA/NationsBank.  Our
      23   stories are short.  We are a one-job family.  I work. 
      24   My husband is disabled, he cannot hold a job, not for an
      25   hour.  
      26              And, when we decided to buy a home, we were


       1   introduced to this program by a friend who had went
       2   through the program, but she was just too lazy to do
       3   anything else.  So, when we went in, we gave them
       4   everything that we had.  They helped us out.  They are
       5   not like other companies who says, "Get yourself
       6   together then come back."
       7              They're not like one company, we had a friend
       8   worked for this loan company, he wanted to put us in a
       9   certain neighborhood.  You know, not where you want to
      10   be, where they want you to be.  When we heard about
      11   NACA, we went through it and they put us in a nice home.  
      12              My husband was in the hospital when it was
      13   time for us to have our meeting.  So he told the doctor
      14   he had to get out so we can go back and get our house.  
      15              We started April the 24th of last year and on
      16   Labor Day weekend we moved into our home.  And it's the
      17   home that we dreamed about and that we wanted.  I always
      18   told people that I wanted a three-bedroom, two-bathroom,
      19   double-car-garage house.  I didn't get exactly that, but
      20   I have enough land to put my double-car-garage on and my
      21   other bathroom.  
      22              And we have been adding to our house, which
      23   makes it so much better.  We have been living not quite
      24   a year.  We added on to our house, we built our own
      25   deck, our own back porch, we have a little garden in the
      26   back.  This all came possible through NACA.  


       1              As I said, we couldn't get a loan anywhere
       2   because we are a one-member working family, other
       3   creditors looked at that as being disqualification,
       4   because of just one person working.
       5              I highly recommend NACA.  As I was telling my
       6   people when I was getting ready to go, I was talking to
       7   them and they was, "Why are you going all the way to San
       8   Francisco to talk to people about NACA?  Talk to us."  I
       9   said, "As soon as I get back, I'll talk to you."
      10              We are proud of NACA and what they have done
      11   for us.  
      12              MR. HAWKINS:  My wife has said everything
      13   that needed to be said.  I'd like to say thank God,
      14   thank NACA and thank NationsBank because they gave us an
      15   $80,000 loan and my loan papers are still in the hands
      16   of some bank that's still saying, "We'll get in touch
      17   with you."  But we're staying in our home and thank you.  
      18              MS. SMITH:  Is this the last one?  
      19              MR. MARKS:  I am the last one.  
      20              MS. SMITH:  You are the last one, maybe --
      21              MR. MARKS:  It will be short.  Keep hearing
      22   of all the criticism from Consumer Union, look at the
      23   Consumer Reports, this one, the one institution they
      24   recommended to go to to get out of predatory loans is
      25   NACA, it's not NACA, it's NationsBank.
      26              We didn't hear one example of someone that


       1   was denied credit by NationsBank or Bank of America
       2   today.  We heard from the executives, the staff people. 
       3   So the issue is whether this merger is going to benefit
       4   the community or it's going to benefit the
       5   organizations.
       6              We're stating clearly it benefits the
       7   community and that's what the CRA is all about and
       8   that's why we're standing here to say it should go
       9   through because thousands and tens of thousands of
      10   people are going to benefit from what they're doing.  
      11              Thank you very much.
      12              MS. SMITH:  Why don't we start with you right
      13   here.  Name and organization, please.  
      14              MR. CARDONA:  Yes, sir -- yes, ma'am.  Good
      15   afternoon.  My name is Hugo Cardona.  I'm the President
      16   and Chief Executive Officer to SER, Jobs for Progress
      17   National.  We are a 501(C) organization.  
      18              We are the oldest and largest organization in
      19   the country taking people from welfare to work.  We were
      20   founded in 1964, therefore, we have been 34 years
      21   empowering people to leave the unemployment and welfare
      22   grants and find the skills that will permit them to have
      23   a productive life.             
      24              We have 38 affiliates in 18 states, District
      25   of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  We have more than 180
      26   different programs in more than 91 cities.  Our combined


       1   budgets are more than $62 million.  
       2              Directly and indirectly, we accept a year
       3   more than 400,000 individuals, 65 percent of which are
       4   Hispanic.  Our motto is very simple, We change minds to
       5   change lives.  We empower the individual to acquire the
       6   skills to be master's of their own destiny.  
       7              The problem that we are facing today is we
       8   empowering the individuals, but we are sending them back
       9   to the communities where they are failing in the first
      10   place and this is where NationsBank come into play in
      11   our organization.
      12              Our funding comes from two sources.  The
      13   government who permit us to take care of the present
      14   needs of the minorities, and corporate America that
      15   permit us the working capital to create programs and
      16   initiatives to address the future needs and the problems
      17   that we are facing with our minorities in technology,
      18   legislation and changes in immigration laws.
      19              We have more than 150 corporate organizations
      20   of the 500 Fortune supporting our efforts.  We call them
      21   the amigos de SER, and what they provide to us is
      22   funding, places of employment for minorities and they
      23   provide their own people to help in our organizations.
      24              In specifically, NationsBank has been an
      25   amigos de SER since 1991.  In this seven years they have
      26   contributed more than $350,000 to our organization.  In


       1   1994 they provided $200,000 to start what we call the
       2   housing program.
       3              The housing program has permitted us to place
       4   more than 270 individuals, like the ones that you saw
       5   here this afternoon, in homes.  These are first-time
       6   home buyers, persons that have 80 percent or less of the
       7   average income.  This is our pilot program.  It has
       8   proven very successful.             
       9              Now, in partnership with NationsBank and
      10   other financial institutions, we are moving forward.  We
      11   are creating now a house initiative that will permit us
      12   to rehabilitate apartments, to build apartments, to
      13   build homes where you will have 150 homes.  They have
      14   built in Texas, in Dallas at this moment, a secure place
      15   with 150 homes.  The vista is lemon scented and every
      16   home has a computer.  And you have the structures in
      17   place, you have everything that you need.  All of this
      18   is financed through these financial institutions and
      19   NationsBank.
      20              So SER organization is very grateful to
      21   NationsBank because it has permitted us to support and
      22   sell to minorities.  Thank you so much.  
      23              MR. WADDELL:  Thank you very much.  Good
      24   afternoon.  My name is Kermit Waddell.  I am an attorney
      25   in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I am the President and
      26   CEO of the Economic Center of the Carolinas.  


       1              Today I am very happy to be here to support
       2   the merger between the NationsBank and Bank of America.
       3              My affiliation with NationsBank began in 1992
       4   as a result of a partnership forged between the bank and
       5   the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
       6   People, the NAACP.  This was but one of the partnerships
       7   NationsBank entered into to help reach its goal of
       8   loaning over $1 billion over a ten-year period of time
       9   to low-to-moderate- income persons and small businesses. 
      10   The goal was actually achieved within three years.
      11              Under the partnership, I headed up the North
      12   Carolina NAACP Community Development Resource Center,
      13   which Tammy Hawley talked about earlier, which opened in
      14   Charlotte in 1992.
      15              During the life of my existence with the
      16   NAACP as State Vice President and Head Attorney, from
      17   1992 until October, the NAACP facilitated over $115
      18   million in loans.  and I told Ms. Hawley about that
      19   earlier, she had given you $80 million dollars, the
      20   number is $115 million.  I personally facilitated $65
      21   million of that through North Carolina Center with no
      22   defaults.
      23              I left the NAACP in October of 1997 to
      24   establish the Economic Development Center of the
      25   Carolinas known at the EDCC, a nonprofit NationsBank
      26   partner.


       1              Since October 1997, the EDCC has facilitated
       2   over 7 and one-half million dollars.  We currently have
       3   over $28 million pending currently.  We have over $15
       4   million pending in NationsBank with over $8 million in
       5   letters of commitment.  
       6              The purpose of the EDCC is a desire to
       7   promote economic development through community
       8   development lending in partnership with NationsBank to
       9   community-based organizations and other institutions.
      10              Our target populations and its major
      11   beneficiaries of our efforts are those persons at
      12   communities which traditionally have been underserved by
      13   major lending institutions.  We provide counseling,
      14   advocacy, home ownership, first-time buying of home
      15   programs and small business education classes.
      16              We believe and still believe that our one
      17   hundred percent lending record to this date is due to
      18   the strong education program.  We firmly believe that.
      19              Class receive assistance in credit
      20   counseling, budgeting, asset management, business plan
      21   preparation, technical assistance.  NationsBank provides
      22   the curriculum and classroom material for the education
      23   classes.
      24              I think this is critically important because,
      25   as an attorney for the NAACP for many, many years, I
      26   took part in a great many partnerships and fair share of


       1   agreements.  One was the Carolina Panthers when they
       2   were getting ready to create the Panthers.  
       3              Because of problems with Dennys, we created a
       4   $60 million fair-share agreement.  The resource center
       5   has facilitated over $20 million in loans through the
       6   Carolina Panthers through African Americans who
       7   participated in the building of the stadium as well as
       8   eight to nine jumbo loans for the players that buy homes
       9   within the 5- and $600,000 range.
      10              However, we just as equally satisfied with
      11   the 25- or $30,000 loan to someone in the Appalachian
      12   region who never had running water, never had windows or
      13   someone who lives along the coast of North Carolina and
      14   South Carolina in poverty-stricken communities.
      15              I also want to say that we have utilized the
      16   bank.  A great many of the programs that are in
      17   partnership with these agencies and these banks, their
      18   problems are they never take time to learn the bank.  We
      19   have utilized every sector of NationsBank.  We have used
      20   the SBIC for African American businessman that needed an
      21   equity partner to grow and expand their business so that
      22   he could participate in a military contract.
      23              We have used the consortium for an African
      24   American business family who has the contract with
      25   Nissan to produce all of the chimes for the Nissan
      26   automobiles.  So I can tell you from firsthand


       1   experience that this program is not racial placation,
       2   that the partnership with NationsBank works.  I think
       3   that people have to make it work, you have to stop
       4   looking for a gift and for a handout and you have to put
       5   yourself to work and the partnership works.
       6              To conclude, I'd like to leave with you the
       7   words of Frederick Douglas, which is the motto of my
       8   office.  "The history of civilization showed that no
       9   people can or will rise to the degree of mental or even
      10   moral excellence without wealth, a people uniformly poor
      11   and compelled to struggle for barely physical
      12   independence and be despised by their neighbors and will
      13   finally despise themselves."
      14              Thank you and God bless you.  
      15              MS. SMITH:  Thank you very much.  
      16              MR. LUJAN:  Thank you very much for allowing
      17   me to speak on behalf of NationsBank and BankAmerica. 
      18   My name is Edward Lujan.  I am from Albuquerque, New
      19   Mexico and have been quite active in community affairs
      20   for both Albuquerque and the state for number of years.  
      21              Presently I serve as the Chairman of the
      22   Economic Development Commission for the State of New
      23   Mexico and as chairman of the New Mexico Hispanic
      24   Cultural Center Board.
      25              I support the acquisition of BankAmerica by
      26   NationsBank.  The bank has been in existence for 70


       1   years, as the bank grew, it helped the city and the
       2   state grow both with employee activities and its
       3   resources.
       4              I am delighted to say that NationsBank has
       5   continued the tradition of what was originally
       6   Albuquerque National Bank.
       7              Time doesn't permit me to go over all of the
       8   employees of NationsBank who are active in the
       9   community, but two come to mind immediately.  David
      10   Baird is President of NationsBank New Mexico, belongs to
      11   the Albuquerque Economic Forum, Albuquerque Economic
      12   Development Board and Leadership New Mexico.
      13              Alex Romero is Executive Vice President and
      14   Consumer Banking Executive.  Alex belongs to the
      15   Hispanic Cultural Foundation and also presently serves
      16   as Chairman of the Board of Albuquerque Hispano Chamber
      17   of Congress.
      18              When it comes to economic development,
      19   NationsBank is right there helping with both their
      20   employees and their resources.
      21              I previously mentioned that I was chairman of
      22   the board of the New Mexico Hispanic Cultural Center.  A
      23   few of us started with a dream of building a national
      24   cultural center to share and preserve a unique culture
      25   for a nation.             
      26              Our goal was to reach $45 million for this


       1   endeavor.  We started working going to the state
       2   legislature and securing 16 million in funding and
       3   creating a division within the Office of Cultural
       4   Affairs for the State of New Mexico.  We went to the
       5   City of Albuquerque and to Middle Rio Grande Conservancy
       6   District.  The city gave us 16 acres in downtown
       7   Albuquerque, and the conservancy district gave us 14
       8   acres of bosque or Riverside land bordering the land
       9   from the city.
      10              We went to our two United State Senators and
      11   secured 18.9 million in federal funding for the
      12   Performing Arts Theater.  Having secured the cooperation
      13   and funding for the city, the conservancy district, the
      14   state and federal government, then we went to the
      15   private sector for an additional $10 million that was
      16   needed to complete the national center.
      17              Without asking, NationsBank gave the center
      18   the largest donation to get our private sector
      19   fundraising campaign underway.  
      20              I have always worked with Bank of America and
      21   have found them to be -- to also be good corporate
      22   members of the community.  Their history and their
      23   commitment to both the cultural aspects and economic
      24   vitality of our great state says to me that, as one
      25   bank, they will continue to be involved.  I wish to
      26   wholeheartedly endorse the acquisition of BankAmerica


       1   Corporation by NationsBank Corporation. 
       2              Thank you.  
       3              MR. COOPER:  Good afternoon.  I am the
       4   President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice
       5   Communications, Inc., a commercial printing operation
       6   located in Richmond, Virginia.  
       7              Since our inception in January 1993, we have
       8   grown from a customer base of one with sales of less
       9   than $2 million to a company that this year will exceed
      10   $5 million in sales to over 100 clients.  During this
      11   period, we have increased our employee role from 16 to
      12   more than 50.  Because I am a Black American and control
      13   85 percent of the company, we are one of the largest
      14   minority-owned printing operations in the United States.
      15              It is not my intention to offer these facts
      16   as a testimonial to my achievements as a business
      17   person, but, rather, I offer them as the positive effect
      18   of a decision made six years ago by NationsBank
      19   executives.  It was their vision that led to the
      20   creation of Choice Communications.
      21              During the process of deciding to eliminate
      22   company-owned operations that were not directly related
      23   to the business of banking, NationsBank identified their
      24   Richmond printing operation as a candidate for
      25   extinction.  However, instead of eliminating 16 jobs and
      26   selling assets for pennies on the dollar, the decision


       1   was made to use the print shop closing to create an
       2   opportunity for minority business development.
       3              In announcing their intentions, NationsBank
       4   promised help in securing financing and a one-year $2
       5   million contract to provide printing services.  It was
       6   my good fortune to be the candidate chosen to purchase
       7   the print shop.
       8              Since that time, I have benefited from this
       9   decision and Choice has remained a primary supply
      10   partner to NationsBank.  In fact, we have recently
      11   signed a contract that will keep us in this position
      12   through the year 2000.
      13              During the current five-year period, annual
      14   sales to NationsBank have grown annually and average
      15   more than $2.3 million.
      16              Finally, I would like to mention that for the
      17   past two years the National Minority Supply and
      18   Development Council selected NationsBank as its
      19   corporation of the year.  This award was given to
      20   NationsBank by minority business enterprise
      21   representatives from across the United States.  Receipt
      22   of the award is testimonial of a corporation's effort to
      23   create change.  To receive the award in consecutive
      24   years is an overwhelming acknowledgement of
      25   NationsBank's leadership in and commitment to the
      26   communities that it serves.


       1              I challenge the people of color on the west
       2   coast to learn a little bit more about the NationsBank. 
       3   And I thank you again for the opportunity to testify in
       4   support of the merger.
       5              MS. SMITH:  Thank you very much.  I don't
       6   think we have any questions, right?  We will take a
       7   ten-minute break, that will be our lunch break, and then
       8   we will start at 12:55 with the next panel.  
       9              (Recess taken.)
Last update: December 3, 2010