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Carver still doing the job

Cyril Josh Barker | , Amsterdam News Staff | 5/25/2011, 9:23 a.m.

Carver Federal Savings Bank held its annual stockholders meeting on Monday at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Dozens attended the meeting to hear about the status of the bank, which has lately seen some troubles due to the economic crisis. However, officials say that customers won't have any problems and that the bank is working through its issues.

In February, Carver Bank announced that they were given a cease and desist order by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). Under the order, the bank must raise $20 million in capital by the end of the month.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Chris McFadden said Carver is focusing on fulfilling the requirements of the cease and desist order, raising capital and taking care of the credit issues that were cited in the OTS report.

"Those are our two main focal points and that is what me and the rest of the management team are focusing on," McFadden said. "The customers should know that all of our branches are still open and operating, the FDIC insurance is still in place and customers should have no concerns about their deposits. We welcome them to come in and support Carver as they have in the past."

Carver Bank CEO Deborah Wright said that the bank is still in operation and that customers are not affected by the OTS order. She mentioned that some new things are on the way to help the bank reach even more customers.

"There are some issues that we are grappling with, and the great thing about this meeting is that it tells people what we are doing to keep our capital strong," said Wright. "The board is working on it and so is the team. We know we have to raise capital and we are all over that. We are doing other innovative things that are relevant to our community."

One of those innovations, announced on Monday, was Carver Community Cash. Wright called it "the banking answer to the check cashing industry." Since more check cashing centers than banks are found in predominately Black neighborhoods, Carver will offer similar services to those found in the centers.

"Instead of criticizing people who might not have bank accounts, we are focusing on meeting the need," Wright said. "The families that we know need some alternatives to standard banking. Carver Community Cash is a way to introduce them [to banking] with a product line that is relevant to them."

Carver will also soon offer the Cash Access card, a prepaid card to which customers can load set amounts to keep their money safe and still do money transactions.