Magazine article American Banker

Urban Bankers' Head Sees Continuing Role for Local Institutions

Magazine article American Banker

Urban Bankers' Head Sees Continuing Role for Local Institutions

Article excerpt

Sheila S. Crawford has assumed leadership of the National Association of Urban Bankers and considers it one of her biggest challenges, next to her career and family.

"I think you have to set your priorities and work from there if you want to accomplish your goals," said Ms. Crawford, who became president of the association this month at its 21st annual conference in Boston.

Ms. Crawford, a senior vice president of Boston Co., an institutional money manager, becomes the fourth woman to become head of the association, a 3,000-member group of minority professionals working in financial services and related fields.

Although community banks are declining in number, especially in urban areas, Ms. Crawford believes they are important players in inner-city development.

"I feel community banks have a place ... and can provide better personal services to the community because they are right there," she said.

Ms. Crawford said larger institutions like Bank of Boston are taking steps to help provide credit and banking services to inner-city neighborhoods.

She said that within the next two to three weeks, the association will issue its first statements on the Community Reinvestment Act and on affirmative action.

In addition, she said the association will continue to concentrate on leadership, professional development, job banks, networking, membership growth, and economic development in minority communities.

"Our economic development program is being expanded more on a national level rather then local," Ms. Crawford said. "It will focus on credit awareness, CRA, financial planning, first-time homebuyers' seminars in conjunction with Fannie Mae, and the SBA (Small Business Administration) technical assistance program. …

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