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Carver Bank resolves capital raising issues

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 7/13/2011, 4:04 p.m.

Carver Bank recently announced that it has finished raising capital with seven institutional investors, each of whom purchased shares of mandatorily convertible, non-voting participating preferred stock ("Series C Preferred Stock") for an aggregate $55 million in cash. The new capital exceeds regulatory capital requirements set by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), Carver's regulator.

Investment firms and bankers include Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who each purchased $15 million, Citigroup and Prudential purchased $10 million and American Express and First Republic Bank each purchased $1 million.

In February, Carver announced that the OTS had required the bank to increase its Tier 1 core capital ratio to at least 9 percent and its total risk-based capital ratio to at least 13 percent.

Based on the results of operations as of March 31, the total net proceeds of the sale of the Series C Preferred Stock would increase the Bank's Tier 1 core capital ratio from 5.38 percent to approximately 12.43 percent, and its total risk-based capital ratio from 9.6 percent to approximately 19.16 percent.

In an interview with the AmNews, Carver Bank CEO Deborah Wright said she is pleased with the result, and that Carver customers can look forward to continued superior services.

"We're pretty happy," she said. "This organization has been through a tough time. This is a special franchise-we want it to be around. We were very successful in getting the $55 million and we exceeded everyone's expectations."

Wright added that, during the process, Carver was solely focused on its customers, making sure that they could adequately be served. She added that it was important that Carver be in the community.

She said, "The No. 1 thing I've heard from the community is that Carver is a special institution, focused on a part of the city that we know and love. It's important to keep a franchise focused on the urban community. No. 1 is to preserve the franchise. No. 2, we have aspirations that go beyond meeting the regulatory requirements."

The Series C Preferred Stock will automatically convert to a combination of shares of common stock and shares of convertible non-cumulative non-voting participation preferred ("Series D Preferred Stock") upon the receipt of certain specified approvals of the company's stockholders. The Series D Preferred Stock is convertible into common stock in the event of certain transfers.

In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has agreed to exchange the $18.98 million of the Company's Series B Preferred Stock it acquired in the Troubled Asset Relief Program's Community Development Capital Initiative for approximately 34.8 million shares of common stock, subject to certain conditions, including the receipt of stockholder approval.

Wright said that Carver Bank is looking forward to giving its customers even more services, including the recently implemented Carver Community Cash. The service allows people to cash checks as Carver locations as they would at check cashing centers. Carver will also have prepaid debit cards available for customers starting at the end of the month.

"We want to thank our customers for supporting us," Wright said. "It might surprise people, but we grew core deposits during this period because of the loyalty to our customers. We have not been just focused on the challenging news of the last year or two-it follows a year of working with experts in the area."