Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI)
AEI Regional Initiatives
The Black Belt AEI rollout event was launched in April 2007 and had over 50 members at that time. The multi-county initiative utilized regional team leaders – a financial institution and a community foundation for the south Black Belt; an enterprise community CDC in the west Black Belt and university (HBCU) in the east Black Belt. The regions focused on VITA with direct deposit account openings, savings initiatives, financial education and individual development accounts (IDAs).
In September 2008, a conference on access to capital for community development was held and the first series of awards for economic inclusion for innovative products and services were given to financial institutions that developed gateway products and unique and sustainable service approaches to the unbanked and underbanked. These recognitions have continued through 2011.
In 2009, the effort recognized a high school in the west Black Belt for introducing personal finance in the curriculum, particularly as there was no legal mandate in the state to provide such education. The initiative held several combined financial institutions and community roundtables in the west and east Black Belt around the state, adding a portion for the US SBA to provide information on its various programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Several of the initial IDA participants in the west Black Belt successfully completed their savings and purchased homes, as well as started businesses. The culminating conference of 2009 was a combined one with the annual Tuskegee University economic development conference including a presentation on the FDIC unbanked household survey findings.
During 2010, the alliance concentrated on personal financial education in school districts, micro and small business resource information exchange and small business formation. The AEI annual conference was held in Mobile, Alabama at a minority-serving institution of higher learning and focused on gateway transactions accounts, consumer services and collaborative efforts to provide access to mainstream banking services.
In 2011, the Alabama Asset Building Coalition (AABC) served as co-chair in an effort to make a transition to chair with the FDIC serving as technical assistance advisor in 2012. The AEI initiative joined the Southern Regional Asset Building Coalition (SRABC) at its October 20-21, 2011 conference and at the conference a financial institution was recognized for creating an innovative transaction account product for its service area during the AEI Black Belt Banks awards presentation.
The AABC voted to accept the Chair position of the Alabama AEI Initiative at its January 26, 2012 Board Meeting.
Strategies that are being pursued during 2012 have been expanded to include an emphasis on the pitfalls of payday lending and its impact on low- and moderate-income individuals and families, continuing to assist with the expansion of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) throughout the State and promoting micro-business development and access to capital. The State Banking Department has also expressed an interest in the AEI initiative due to the growth of payday lending in the State.
A recently elected AABC Board member, who also serves as VP and Community Development Specialist for a large bank in Alabama, serves as the chair of the Bank on Alabama Steering Committee. Bank on pilot cities are planned to include Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile.
We currently have over 65 members.
Point of Contact for Black Belt AEI:
John Olsen, CAS
100 Capitol Commerce Boulevard, Suite 590
Montgomery, AL 36117
Office: (334) 271-5213; ext. 4719
FDIC Community Affairs staff in the Atlanta Region partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in 2012 to form a coalition of small and micro business service providers throughout West Virginia. The coalition acts as a resource for both direct service providers and organizations and institutions that support the provision of services to present and prospective small and micro business owners. This initiative will promote access to information about West Virginia small and micro business service providers within that community, provide opportunities to partner, learn best practices, spread successful programs and bring focus on the areas of greatest opportunity for small and micro business development and access to credit.
The West Virginia Small and Micro Business AEI will hold a conference for all small and micro business service providers on August 20, 2012 in Charleston, WV. This conference addresses the present state of small business service provision in West Virginia, business sectors that offer significant opportunity for small and micro business creation and growth, and identified needs and gaps facing service providers. FDIC Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg is the conference luncheon keynote speaker
Contact for WV Small and Micro Business AEI:
John Meeks, CAS
4141 Parklake Avenue, Suite 230
Raleigh, NC 27612
Office: 919-787-8727 x 4915 Cell: 919-986-0915