A bank investing in small towns and neighborhoods in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Katrina
Although we heard much in in the summer of 2005 about the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the people of Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, most of the news focused on the mortal peril residents were faced with during the storm. While this was a tragedy, the long-term effects on the economy of coastal Louisiana have persisted, with an enormous amount of property damage (110,000 homes and 20,000 businesses literally under water). In New Orleans specifically, neighborhoods with large black populations were disproportionally affected, as historically white families and neighborhoods were given high-ground areas to build their homes and black families were relegated to the lower-ground eastern part of the city.
In the years following the hurricane, white neighborhoods were invested in and rebuilt while black neighborhoods on the east side were ignored. Even today, entire blocks in the seventh ward are completely stripped. An article from The Nation reports an alarming statistic: “The median black household in New Orleans in 2013 was $30,000—$5,000 less than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. By contrast, median household income in the white community increased by 40 percent over that same period and now stands at more than $60,000.” For these reasons and others, 1 in 3 black New Orleans residents have not returned to the city, and many have relocated in small towns near New Orleans, including some that were affected by the hurricane.
Even disregarding issues of race, many areas of southern Louisiana have struggled to rebuild after Katrina, and better banking can make a huge difference in getting capital into the hands of those who were affected by the hurricane. American Bank & Trust Co. is a bank which invests heavily in small business, and they are located in small towns around New Orleans as well as a suburb in the northeast of the city called Terrytown, which has a diverse population of nearly equal parts white, black and Latinx individuals. They take pride in being a true community bank, both through their loan portfolio and through their personalized service and customer relationships.
This bank could be doing more for low- and moderate-income housing. About a third of their lending is devoted to housing, with about a third of this going to low-and-moderate-income households. However, nearly two-thirds of their locations are in low-income neighborhoods, and they do an outstanding amount of small business lending, with it making up 28% of their total lending. They also do a significant amount of small farm lending, which is a great indicator that they fill the needs of the small towns where their branches are located. They’re a small bank that is a solid banking option, with assets of about $125 million and a positive return on assets, as well as a satisfactory CRA rating.
Helping to rebuild small business and housing options in places affected by Katrina is essential, even when many people have claimed that the rebuilding has been done, as many populations have been ignored in this investing process. American Bank & Trust Co. offers online and mobile banking, so even those who don’t live near a branch can invest in this Better Banking Option. Check out their website today.