Wolters Kluwer today named both Bank of North Carolina of High Point, N.C. and Pennsylvania-based Washington Financial Bank as winners of its 2016 Community Impact Award. The award honors financial institutions for the breadth of their positive impact to low- and moderate-income communities, and their innovative application of community development programs in communities where they do business.
The announcement was made at the company’s 20th annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium, held in Las Vegas. The Colloquium brings together federal regulators, attorneys, bank compliance officers and other industry experts for insights on navigating the increasingly complex regulatory and risk management landscape facing financial institutions today, including the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
Bank of North Carolina won for its work with the High Point Revitalization Program, which aims to revitalize and stabilize blighted or declining neighborhoods while increasing affordable home ownership in those areas. As part of the program, the bank partners with the city of High Point to build or renovate clusters of blighted properties, and it provides an affordable mortgage product to help qualified homebuyers purchase the new housing at or near cost. The program is targeted toward the under-banked and, in some cases, ignored parts of the population. It is coupled with an educational component—a finance course that takes several months to complete and includes guidance on insurance, how to pay property taxes, and other elements of mortgage lending.
“We have a long history and deep roots in High Point,” said Britt Faircloth, vice president and fair banking manager at Bank of North Carolina. “It was important for us to invest in the city where we are headquartered and where we began, as we not only want to improve the areas around us, but also ensure that this community continues to grow.”
Washington Financial Bank is now a two-time Community Impact Award winner. This year, the bank won for its Washington County City Mission Program, which helps ensure homeless men, women, children and veterans have access to housing. Washington Financial Bank worked to help the area’s homeless shelter, the Washington City Mission, receive $1.5 million in Affordable Housing Program grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh to rebuild after a fire destroyed part of their facilities. Washington Financial also reinforced its decades-long support of the Mission with a $50,000 pledge through its Charitable Foundation to the Mission’s new veterans’ facility as part of this project.
“These grants directly impact the revitalization of the community, our citizens’ health and safety, and the overall quality of life,” said Chris Oravetz, assistant vice president and community reinvestment officer at Washington Financial Bank. “We are proud to partner with the City Mission to help them rebuild and fund these vital programs.”
“These two institutions are evidence that banks can positively impact the communities where they operate in very meaningful ways,” said Timothy R. Burniston, executive vice president, U.S. Advisory Services and Regulatory Relations. “We are honored to recognize their commitment and caring toward the citizens they serve, especially those in low- to moderate-income areas.”
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