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News

Important updates in the Community.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 6, 2023


CONTACT:

Jeff Hamilton, President & CEO

Office: 413-739-4737 Ext. 106

Click Here for .pdf



Mason Square TDI Partnership Announces Awardees for $200,000

Mason Square Small Business Activation Grant



Springfield, MA – The Mason Square TDI (Transformative Development Initiative) Partnership, a collaboration of community-based organizations, businesses, and residents committed to supporting equitable, sustainable, and economic growth in Mason Square, is excited to announce awardees for the Mason Square TDI Small Business Activation Grant Program. The program received $200,000 total in funding from MassDevelopment and the MassMutual Foundation to provide grants to small businesses, organizations, and groups in the Mason Square TDI District to support Company Branding & Storytelling, Digital Media & Web Presence, Place-based Brand Design & Implementation, and Placemaking Design & Activation.


The goals of the program are to elevate local business visibility in the district, increase customer visits to Mason Square businesses and organizations, support local businesses' economic growth, and establish Mason Square as a more walkable commercial corridor for Mason Square’s neighborhoods, the City of Springfield, and the Pioneer Valley.


Grants from the program ranged from $4,800 to $25,000, and all eligible small businesses within the Mason Square district were encouraged to apply. The grant program is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to receive the financial support and consulting services needed to increase their visibility and contribute to the economic growth of the community.


The grant period was open from June 26, 2023, to August 22, 2023. More details about the program can be found at this link: https://www.springfieldnhs.org/tdi-grant


Mason Square Small Business Activation Grant Awardees:

  1. Crispy Wings

  2. Panache Banquet Hall

  3. Olive Tree Books & Voices

  4. Level 5 Restaurant

  5. KingTees

  6. A1 Towing

  7. The Final Touch Barbershop

  8. Jen’s Organics


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The Mason Square TDI Partnership Announces


Mason Square TDI Activation Grant


Springfield, MA - The Mason Square Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Partnership, a collaboration of local organizations, businesses and residents committed to the equitable and sustainable growth of the Mason Square district, is thrilled to announce the launch of its Small Business Activation Grant Program. The program has received $200,000 in total funding from MassDevelopment and the MassMutual Foundation.



Press Release (pdf): View Grant Overview: Click Here


Springfield NHS is a member of the Mason Square TDI Partnership:


For more in contact:


Jeff Hamilton

ExecuIve Vice President/CFO

Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (Springfield NHS)

Phone: (413) 739-4737 Ext. 106

Springfield NHS is a member of the Mason Square TDI Partnership

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The Canadian lender touted its recent efforts to boost nonwhite homeownership and small businesses, as advocates spotlighted the bank’s mortgage lending record.


Dan Ennis Senior Editor | @Ennis77Dan

TD Bank, Toronto-Dominion Drew Angerer / Staff via Getty Images

Community advocates pushed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve at a public hearing Thursday to make TD Bank’s proposed acquisition of First Horizon Bank contingent on a strong benefits agreement that includes more mortgage lending to borrowers of color and a steady branch presence in underserved areas.


Rachel Labush, a supervising attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, cited a 2018 report by the nonprofit group Reveal indicating TD, among large banks, was the most likely to deny a loan application from a Black or Latinx person.


“Unfortunately, since that reporting, TD Bank has not improved,” Labush said, according to The Globe and Mail.


Labush said her organization found that, in the past three years, TD was tied for the lowest percentage of mortgages to Black and Hispanic people among its peers and was less likely to approve a high-income Black applicant than a low-income White one.


 

Leo Williams, President/CEO of Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services in Massachusetts, said he was concerned about potential branch closures — particularly, a TD location in a predominantly Black and Latino community that is open two days a week.


“A great deal of consideration needs to be given to potential negative impacts on Black and Latino low-income individuals in these communities, Williams said.


 


TD executives at Thursday’s hearing, for their part, touted some of the bank’s recent initiatives, such as a credit program meant to boost homeownership in communities of color, and a $105 million equity fund TD established last year to support nonwhite-owned small businesses.


“We are proud of the role we play in our communities and we’re excited about the opportunity to expand our impact through our combination with First Horizon,” Leo Salom, TD’s U.S. CEO, said Thursday.


Some of that impact has yet to be settled, said Peter Skillern, executive director of Reinvestment Partners in North Carolina, according to American Banker.


Skillern said TD has been largely absent from discussions about housing and community development, but First Horizon has been actively engaged.


“Whose bank culture will prevail?” Skillern asked. “What will the bank culture do as far as valuation of diversity? What is the diversity commitment at the local level, not just in the aggregate?”


Tykeisa Nesbitt, speaking on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform, had a stronger directive for the OCC and the Fed.



“The banking regulators, along with the Department of Justice, urgently need to rethink bank merger guidelines to ensure members are serving the needs of their communities,” Nesbitt said. “Until then, bank mergers, including this one, should be blocked.”


Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, has been a vocal opponent of TD’s proposed tie-up with First Horizon. She wrote the OCC in June, asking the regulator to block the $13.4 billion deal over allegations that TD incentivized employees to enroll customers in new accounts and services such as overdraft protection without their consent, according to a Capitol Forum report from May.


Salom on Thursday noted that the bank is upgrading its overdraft policy — introducing low-balance alerts and a 24-hour grace period meant to let overdrawing users replenish their account to avoid a fee. The bank this year also will begin letting customers overdraw their accounts by up to $50 without charging a fee. Further, TD is eliminating a fee it charges when customers with overdraft protection transfer money from their savings account.


TD’s overdraft policy has landed it in hot water with regulators in years past. The bank paid a $25 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and $97 million in restitution to customers in a 2020 settlement over what the regulator deemed “deceptive” overdraft enrollment practices.



Not every community advocate came out against the pending acquisition.


“We are in support of this merger because we hope that it can bring additional resources to our community, but also communities across the country that can benefit from a larger bank that has essentially more resources,” William Stoudt, executive director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, told regulators Thursday.


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First Horizon is not the only deal TD has in the works. The Canadian lender said this month it would buy Wall Street brokerage Cowen for $1.3 billion — a transaction set to close in the first quarter of 2023.


The First Horizon deal, too, has a first-quarter deadline. The banks may terminate or choose to extend the acquisition’s timeline if it isn’t complete by Feb. 27.


Regulators are accepting comments on the proposed combination through Tuesday.


Thursday’s event came amid an uptick in public hearings on large bank mergers, in line with a 2021 executive order from President Joe Biden. The Fed and OCC held a hearing in March concerning U.S. Bank’s proposed $8 billion acquisition of MUFG Union Bank. The regulators convened another hearing last month on Bank of Montreal’s proposed $16.3 billion acquisition of BNP Paribas’ Bank of the West.



Keep up with the story. Subscribe to the Banking Dive free daily newsletter


First Horizon is not the only deal TD has in the works. The Canadian lender said this month it would buy Wall Street brokerage Cowen for $1.3 billion — a transaction set to close in the first quarter of 2023.


The First Horizon deal, too, has a first-quarter deadline. The banks may terminate or choose to extend the acquisition’s timeline if it isn’t complete by Feb. 27.


Regulators are accepting comments on the proposed combination through Tuesday.


Thursday’s event came amid an uptick in public hearings on large bank mergers, in line with a 2021 executive order from President Joe Biden. The Fed and OCC held a hearing in March concerning U.S. Bank’s proposed $8 billion acquisition of MUFG Union Bank. The regulators convened another hearing last month on Bank of Montreal’s proposed $16.3 billion acquisition of BNP Paribas’ Bank of the West.




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