Community Dividend

Federal Reserve Governor Bies tours St. Paul neighborhoods

Federal Reserve Governor Susan Schmidt Bies began her first official visit to the Ninth District with a community development tour of two inner-city neighborhoods in St. Paul.

Paula Woessner - Community Development Publications Editor

Published November 1, 2002  |  November 2002 issue

On August 14, 2002, Federal Reserve Governor Susan Schmidt Bies began her first official visit to the Ninth District with a community development tour of two inner-city neighborhoods in St. Paul. The tour, which was coordinated by Community Affairs and conducted by University Bank President David Reiling, demonstrated the positive impact of community development lending in urban neighborhoods.

The tour started at University Bank in St. Paul's Summit-University Neighborhood, where Reiling discussed the institution's history, mission, accomplishments and goals. He emphasized the bank's community development focus and described some of its products and services. (For more information on University Bank, see the sidebar below). Reiling's presentation was followed by a question-and-answer discussion with Governor Bies and other tour participants, including Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Gary Stern, Senior Vice President Niel Willardson, former Vice President and Community Affairs Officer Julie Stackhouse and members of Community Affairs.

Participants at University Bank in St. Paul
Participants gather at University Bank in St. Paul before the tour. Pictured, from left to right: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Gary Stern, Federal Reserve Governor Susan Schmidt Bies, University Bank President David Reiling, former Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Vice President and Community Affairs Officer Julie Stackhouse, and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Senior Vice President Niel Willardson.

Following the meeting, participants visited a number of sites in St. Paul's Summit-University and Thomas-Dale neighborhoods that underwent successful rehabilitation with the help of University Bank loans. Tour highlights included:

  • A variety of formerly neglected or abandoned commercial buildings that now house thriving small businesses. One of these rescued properties, the Hmong ABC building, is home to the first Hmong bookstore in the United States.
  • Several formerly crime-ridden residential properties that were rehabilitated and sold to low- and moderate-income families; and
  • The New Spirit Middle School, a once-abandoned building that now houses part of a Minnesota charter school.
David Reiling

David Reiling provides a pretour briefing on University Bank's community development investments in inner-city St. Paul.

 

University Bank works to improve its urban community

University Bank is a $68 million financial institution serving the diverse, economically distressed communities of St. Paul's urban core. The bank labels itself "The leader in improving our urban community" and offers a number of products and services that are designed to help inner-city neighborhoods. Nearly 80 percent of its loans go to low- and moderate-income areas of St. Paul.

In 2001, University Bank strengthened its position as a community development lender when it became the first full-service financial institution in Minnesota to be designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's CDFI Fund. CDFIs are community-based nonprofit or for-profit financing institutions that have a primary mission of community development and meet certain other criteria outlined by the CDFI Fund.

In the same year, University Bank was awarded $750,000 in low-cost, debt-like equity through the CDFI Fund's Core Award program, which provides financial assistance to CDFIs to increase their capacity to lend money in economically distressed neighborhoods. The award was matched with a debt-like equity loan from M&I Bank to University Bank, resulting in a total of $1.5 million in debt-like equity that could support approximately $20 million in asset growth.

For more information on University Bank, visit www.universitybank.com.


"We were delighted to have Governor Bies and President Stern tour our community and see what a bank with a community development mission can accomplish. Describing how the bank and the community have benefited through their investments in each other reinforces our belief that you can 'Do well and do good.'"—David Reiling, president, University Bank

"It was a pleasure to visit St. Paul and learn about the innovative program that University Bank has undertaken. The tour underscored the important role that community banks can play in revitalizing urban neighborhoods."—Federal Reserve Governor Susan Schmidt Bies

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