With Alex Jones, EVP, President, UB Community Development
UB Community Development (UBCD) operates across three unique lines of business: New Markets Tax Credits, Community Housing Capital and Community Facilities Lending. These lines of business allow UBCD to create value outside of the Bank’s historical geographic footprint.
Each of these three lines is complimentary to the Bank’s core operations by creating expanded opportunities for loan and deposit relationships. Due to the specialized and complex nature of the transactions undertaken via these programs, we have created a defensible market share to sustain long term growth across Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
In 2019, we closed seven standalone projects in Alabama and Mississippi utilizing $47MM of our allocation, with total project costs over $122.5MM. United Bank provided approximately $38.7MM in financing for these projects, which created more than 600 new jobs. Our financing supported a wide range of projects that include an interstate travel center, assisted living facility with memory care, retail stores, advanced manufacturing, a research and development facility and more. When we commit to a project, we partner with the project from concept to completion, which can take over a year. We believe this level of commitment converts our clients from borrowers to advocates of UBCD.
NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT
The power behind the technology for us is to automate more of the mundane, transactional tasks so our employees have the time to serve our customers better. from our Agrifinance area.
This provides a better customer experience and a more rewarding job for the employee. It’s essentially giving someone a better tool to do their job, to make them more productive and make the job more rewarding so the customer sees a happier, better-equipped employee.
This helps us attract high caliber employees, but also allows us to transition current employees into more rewarding, higher paying positions. Because we’re able to automate many of the transactional functions, not having those employees offsets the cost of paying our existing employees more for doing another job. And because the Bank is growing, there is a growing demand for skilled employees. Leveraging the technology allows us to retrain and redeploy our current employees into more rewarding positions. The new technology has allowed us – and will continue to allow us – to realign our resources to improve both our employee and customer experiences.
CAPITAL MAGNET FUND AWARD
In 2017 United Bank received a $4MM Capital Magnet Fund award from the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund to be used for affordable housing. UBCD, as the manager of this program for the Bank, has deployed these funds into $162MM in housing construction. United Bank originated $56MM in construction loans to fund these affordable housing facilities with 856 units built. This success was in no small part due to the two experienced team members that came on board to oversee our affordable housing program. With our receipt of a $6MM CMF award in February of 2020, we feel that our success and impact in this area will continue.
COMMUNITY FACILITIES LENDING
United Bank was the sole recipient in Alabama or Florida of a Community Facility (CF) funding source from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency. The CF program allows us to offer long-term – up to 35 years – fixed-rate financing to eligible municipal and non-profit borrowers. Since inception of the program in 2018, we have closed $6.5MM and have another $12.5MM in the closing process with approximately $21MM available to lend. We brought on board two team members to oversee the roll-out of this program to ensure its success. From Ardmore, Alabama on the Tennessee line to Atmore, Alabama on the Florida line, our team has met with mayors, fire chiefs, utility systems, hospitals and others to make them aware of the program. Thus, we have the capacity for continued growth and increasing market awareness of this unique offering.