In a time of widespread consolidation and a shrinking number of minority-owned banks, the institution Joseph Haskins Jr. helped found 33 years ago is becoming rarer.Amid more stringent federal oversight, many community banks are finding it more expensive to operate and are selling themselves to larger banks. Haskins says Harbor Bank, the Baltimore-based institution where he serves as chairman, president and CEO, has to be “very strategic” to offset the increased costs.The Federal Reserve counts just 23 African-American owned banks in the country, down from 40 in 2003. Harbor Bank, with $233 million in assets, is one of them. Two other minority-owned banks in Baltimore vanished in recent years — Advance Bank was acquired by Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore in 2013 and Ideal Federal Savings Bank was closed by regulators in 2010.Haskins said Harbor Bank serves as a catalyst for economic development, offering small and mid-size businesses loans, running a non-profit community development corporation, and lending in distressed areas. Harbor Bank also has been involved in lending for the East Baltimore Development Inc. project.What’s it like to run a community bank at a time when many experts are saying banks need at least $500 million in assets?Running a… Read full this story
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