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VOL. 133 | NO. 115 | Friday, June 8, 2018

Banks Team Up for Saturday Event to Help Memphians Improve Credit

By Patrick Lantrip

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In an effort to support credit and financial counseling of Memphis residents, more than a dozen local banks that banded together last year to form the Memphis Area Community Reinvestment Act Association are preparing to host their first collective event this weekend.

The free event, known as Better Credit, Better Communities, will be held Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the fellowship hall at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd. Attendees will have direct access to community organizations, neighborhood development corporations and financial institutions that will provide information and resources to help improve the credit scores and financial knowledge of local low- to moderate-income residents.

Keith Turbett

“Even though we are all competitors, in this space, we know the need is great and we’re all trying to do things that will improve the low- to moderate-income community,” said First Tennessee Bank community development manager Keith Turbett. “We found in our discussions that we all were having the same challenges in the low- to moderate-income communities, which is making home loans and other loans because of credit issues.”

Turbett said he thinks events like these are needed in the community, because Memphis as a whole has below-average credit ratings and above-average bankruptcy rates.

“We banks began to sit around the table and talk about what we do and what we’re trying to do, and we all came to the conclusion that improving the credit profile of the market is going to help every one of our businesses,” he said.

In addition to Memphis CRA Association member banks, the Better Credit, Better Communities event will feature a collection of local nonprofits and community development organizations, such as the Frayser Community Development Corp., which will be talking about its efforts to convert renters in the north Memphis community to homeowners; United Housing, which will discuss homebuyer and home rehab education throughout the city; and Operation HOPE, which has partnered with several banks to provide one-on-one financial coaching.

Representatives from the local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the largest and oldest African-American Realtor group in the country, will also be on hand.

“Anyone who walks in will have a ton of information,” Turbett said. “We will have speakers going on in cycles and will have rooms set up where people can get one-on-one coaching if they need it.”

Founded in February 2017, the Memphis CRA Association includes members from BancorpSouth, Financial Federal Bank, First Tennessee Bank, Iberiabank, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Paragon Bank, Patriot Bank, Renasant Bank, Regions Bank, Simmons Bank, SunTrust Bank, Trustmark Bank and Tri-State Bank.

“At the end of the day, you want to do what’s best for your financial institution, but in doing what’s best, you must consider the community’s needs and realities,” Gerre Currie, Memphis CRA Association secretary and Financial Federal Bank community development officer, said in a statement. “Community development officers have already been engrained in and challenged by this type of work, and we address it directly because we recognize our own individual passions for, and commitment to, trying to shift low- to moderate-income Memphians’ situations from poverty to acceptance, and from acceptance to growth.”

PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466