The St Pete Business League calls on regulators to require Fifth Third Bank make a 5 billion dollar CRA commitment to Black Business owners, Black Homeowners and Black Start Up Businesses in Florida as a precondition to any continued approval of its attempted acquisition of MS Financial.
“It is highly disturbing.” said Alex Morfesis, “to review the type of limited lending and community investments by Fifth Third Bank while watching regulators give a hand wave to the merger.”
Fifth Third Bank has agreed to merge with and purchase MB Financial and as part of its claimed CRA commitments recently made a tentative de minimis 5 Billion Dollar set of promises to the Chicago market area, which economically is only half the size of Florida at $525 Billion of GDP.
“Florida is about to pass 1 Trillion Dollars in GDP this year,” exclaimed Mr. Morfesis, “yet due to its lack of a Federal Reserve Bank, gets constantly short changed by regulators reviewing legally required Community Reinvestment Act capital allocations.”
Fifth Third Bank has over 140 Billion Dollars in assets and is large enough to require an official Dodd-Frank 165(d) resolution plan be approved by the Federal Reserve and FDIC to be allowed continued operations.
“Sadly,” continued Mr. Morfesis,”the Fed Bank in Cleveland decided recently to give Fifth Third a raving review and award them an “outstanding” rating, which leads us to question the process and we are seriously considering asking the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve to investigate how exactly a bank with such a limited amount of legally required CRA activity could have obtained the highest rating.”
The Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank bestowed an Outstanding CRA Rating to Fifth Third Bank in January of this year.
The St Pete Business League is a predominantly Black focused Community Development/Chamber hybrid 501(c)3 organization, looking to help stabilize and grow the historically neglected South and Midtown parts of St Petersburg in Florida.
“It would be prudent for the Federal Reserve and other regulators to withdraw any approvals or tentative approvals,” explained Mr. Morfesis, “until such time a more thorough review of the CRA activities of Fifth Third can be conducted and perhaps even some public hearings held to allow a more complete opportunity for actual neighborhood based organizations to weigh in on their thoughts to the moves by Fifth Third.”
Gerasimos “Alex” Morfesis in the Volunteer Housing and Economic Development coordinator of the St Pete Business League.
“Finally,” continued Mr. Morfesis, “ we are also asking that any approvals require Fifth Third Bank ‘Reshore’ at least 1,000 of the 3,000 jobs it has moved to India via its interest in SLK Global Solutions Private Limitedhttp://www.slkgroup.com/global/ as it is unacceptable taxpayer subsidized FDIC insurance is used to move such jobs overseas.”
The St Pete Business League works with an adhoc group of dozens of neighborhood based non profits in the St Petersburg general area and on through the I-4 corridor of Florida and would coordinate, if successful, the management of the 5 billion dollar commitment through those and other “actual” neighborhood based organizations throughout the State of Florida.