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Public Meeting Transcripts

Public Meeting Regarding NationsBank and BankAmerica

Friday, July 10, 1998

Transcript of Panel Twenty-Seven

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      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
           



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       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
           



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       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
           



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       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. 
           



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       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. 
           



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       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
           



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       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
           



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       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. 
           
Last update: December 3, 2010