Shell Oil Program Lends a Hand to Bronx Bank
Eljas, Miriam, American Banker
Shell Oil Co.'s Community Banking Initiative is now in the South Bronx.
The newest partner in the Houston giant's inner-city development program is $145 million-asset New York National Bank. It will use an investment from the Royal Dutch/Shell Group unit to lend more to businesses owned by minorities and women, said Serafin Mariel, New York National's president.
The three-year-old program "enables banks to make loans to undercapitalized businesses and gives them a chance to succeed," Mr. Mariel said. "It creates jobs in the community and increases the tax base."
Shell started the program as a test in Los Angeles and Houston; it took it nationwide in early 2000. Besides New York National, which joined in September, its bank partners are Adams National Bank in Washington, Continental National Bank of Miami, Dryades Savings Bank in New Orleans, Founders Bank of Commerce in Los Angeles, and Unity National Bank of Houston.
Banks have lent $25 million through the program.
New York National, formed 20 years ago by a few small- business owners, is a typical partner: a small institution that cannot make many types of loans on its own.
"We are a community bank that happens to be majority minority-owned," Mr. Mariel said. "We lend to everybody in the neighborhood." The bank's biggest loan concentration is in commercial real estate and multiple-dwelling credits.
Shell commits about $7.5 million in loan funds to each bank in the program. …