Groundbreaking Initiative Seeks $1 Billion for Gulf Coast Rebuilding

Nov 20, 2006, 00:00 ET from Promontory Interfinancial Network

    NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Major American corporations today
 announced the $1 Billion Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge, an unprecedented
 effort to channel long-term, private sector funding to the Gulf Coast to
 promote rebuilding in the storm ravaged region.
     Participants hope to channel at least $1 billion into the region over
 the next five years.
     Executives from Bank of America, General Motors, Home Depot, Fannie
 Mae, Microsoft, National Community Investment Fund, and The First American
 Corporation joined officials from the Office of the Federal Coordinator of
 Gulf Coast Rebuilding, banking association leaders and New Orleans business
 leaders in announcing the program.
     "Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is an ongoing process that must engage
 the public and private sectors," said Don Powell, the Federal Coordinator
 for Gulf Coast Rebuilding. "The Federal Government has allocated
 significant resources in the region and identifying private sector funding
 is another critical step in the rebuilding process."
     Last year, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused more than $100
 billion of damage along the coast, displacing more than a million people.
     "Capital is critical to helping local community banks serve their
 mission and Fannie Mae is pleased to be a part of the team of investors
 that is bringing this capital to the banks," said Daniel H. Mudd, President
 and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae. "We appreciate and support the
 unique role, vision and insight of community banks, and we believe that
 they are essential to rebuilding Gulf communities."
     "Although much has been torn down, certainly much more will be rebuilt
 -- through the unity, generosity and strength of individuals and
 organizations," said Bob Nardelli, Chairman, President and CEO of The Home
 Depot. "The Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge is a great example of how
 resources are being marshaled and multiplied to help bring life, hope and
 charm back to the families and children of the Gulf region."
     Corporations and other organizations participating in the new program
 benefit the devastated area by simply depositing money using local
 community banks in the Gulf area. The community bank places the funds in
 CDs at multiple banks through the CDARS service of Promontory
 Interfinancial Network, so that the full deposited amount up to $30 million
 is eligible for FDIC insurance. In return, the community bank receives
 matching deposits, which it can use to support construction lending.
 Alternatively, the community bank can receive fee income, with the option
 to receive matching deposits when funds are resubmitted after an initial
 maturity.
     "Local banks were there for their communities when disaster struck the
 Gulf Coast," said American Bankers Association President and CEO Edward L.
 Yingling. "This initiative is a great opportunity for banks and
 corporations across the country to step up and support the people of this
 region as they continue to rebuild."
     Currently, 37 local community banks in the region are eligible to
 receive funding through the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge. Ultimately,
 more than 300 such banks may be eligible. To be eligible to receive funding
 through the initiative, banks must have assets of less than $500 million
 and be located in areas affected by the storms, as indicated by the Gulf
 Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. They must also be members of the Promontory
 Network.
     "As a national leader in community development, Bank of America
 understands the crucial role of strategic capital in strengthening local
 institutions," said Paul Hinds, Bank of America Program Related Investments
 Executive. "Our investment builds on our previously announced goal to lend
 and invest at least $100 million to rebuild affordable housing and
 revitalize neighborhoods in hurricane-devastated areas."
     One bank that is eligible is Liberty Bank in New Orleans, whose
 President, Alden J. McDonald, Jr., said: "In the long run, this initiative
 will provide a needed source of flexible funding - the money we need, when
 we need it - to rebuild our city."
     "ICBA is pleased to be a partner in this program," said Camden R. Fine,
 President and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, whose
 5,000 community bank members include 100 community banks in the Gulf Coast
 area. "Communities across the region benefit when community banks work
 hand-in-hand with other businesses to spur development and renew economic
 growth."
     "This is a win for everyone," said Eugene A. Ludwig, Promontory's
 Chairman and CEO. "Corporations and others will be able to change people's
 lives for the better just by depositing funds using a Gulf Coast bank, with
 eligibility for full coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
 There is nothing more safe and certain than Federal deposit insurance.
 Since the FDIC was created in 1933, no one has lost a single penny in an
 FDIC-insured account."
     "By investing in this region and working together, we can rebuild our
 communities," said Jennifer Heard, General Manager of South Central
 Enterprise District at Microsoft Corporation. "In the terrible days
 immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Microsoft provided cash and
 technology assistance to support the relief efforts, and we're in it for
 the long haul. The company continues to support nonprofit partners,
 business leaders and communities in getting back on their feet. Further
 support to rebuild the Gulf Coast communities is essential, and this type
 of public-private assistance will help provide economic opportunities to
 residents."
     "This initiative will be crucial in providing ongoing liquidity to
 community banks which are anchors in economic development," said Saurabh
 Narain, Chief Fund Advisor, National Community Investment Fund. "NCIF has
 invested in Liberty Bank and Dryades Savings Bank -- two of the three
 African- American owned CDFI banks in New Orleans."
     "In the wake of the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast, General
 Motors, the GM Foundation and our employees responded quickly with much
 needed cash donations and vehicles to aid in the relief efforts. While a
 lot of progress has been made, the rebuilding of communities and lives
 continues, and much more still needs to be done," said Rod Gillum, GM vice
 president, Corporate Responsibility and Diversity. "GM is proud to partner
 with the banking community to extend its support by making a deposit to
 support the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge."
     More information about the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge is available
 on the web at http://www.gulfchallenge.org.
 
 

SOURCE Promontory Interfinancial Network
    NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Major American corporations today
 announced the $1 Billion Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge, an unprecedented
 effort to channel long-term, private sector funding to the Gulf Coast to
 promote rebuilding in the storm ravaged region.
     Participants hope to channel at least $1 billion into the region over
 the next five years.
     Executives from Bank of America, General Motors, Home Depot, Fannie
 Mae, Microsoft, National Community Investment Fund, and The First American
 Corporation joined officials from the Office of the Federal Coordinator of
 Gulf Coast Rebuilding, banking association leaders and New Orleans business
 leaders in announcing the program.
     "Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is an ongoing process that must engage
 the public and private sectors," said Don Powell, the Federal Coordinator
 for Gulf Coast Rebuilding. "The Federal Government has allocated
 significant resources in the region and identifying private sector funding
 is another critical step in the rebuilding process."
     Last year, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused more than $100
 billion of damage along the coast, displacing more than a million people.
     "Capital is critical to helping local community banks serve their
 mission and Fannie Mae is pleased to be a part of the team of investors
 that is bringing this capital to the banks," said Daniel H. Mudd, President
 and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae. "We appreciate and support the
 unique role, vision and insight of community banks, and we believe that
 they are essential to rebuilding Gulf communities."
     "Although much has been torn down, certainly much more will be rebuilt
 -- through the unity, generosity and strength of individuals and
 organizations," said Bob Nardelli, Chairman, President and CEO of The Home
 Depot. "The Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge is a great example of how
 resources are being marshaled and multiplied to help bring life, hope and
 charm back to the families and children of the Gulf region."
     Corporations and other organizations participating in the new program
 benefit the devastated area by simply depositing money using local
 community banks in the Gulf area. The community bank places the funds in
 CDs at multiple banks through the CDARS service of Promontory
 Interfinancial Network, so that the full deposited amount up to $30 million
 is eligible for FDIC insurance. In return, the community bank receives
 matching deposits, which it can use to support construction lending.
 Alternatively, the community bank can receive fee income, with the option
 to receive matching deposits when funds are resubmitted after an initial
 maturity.
     "Local banks were there for their communities when disaster struck the
 Gulf Coast," said American Bankers Association President and CEO Edward L.
 Yingling. "This initiative is a great opportunity for banks and
 corporations across the country to step up and support the people of this
 region as they continue to rebuild."
     Currently, 37 local community banks in the region are eligible to
 receive funding through the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge. Ultimately,
 more than 300 such banks may be eligible. To be eligible to receive funding
 through the initiative, banks must have assets of less than $500 million
 and be located in areas affected by the storms, as indicated by the Gulf
 Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. They must also be members of the Promontory
 Network.
     "As a national leader in community development, Bank of America
 understands the crucial role of strategic capital in strengthening local
 institutions," said Paul Hinds, Bank of America Program Related Investments
 Executive. "Our investment builds on our previously announced goal to lend
 and invest at least $100 million to rebuild affordable housing and
 revitalize neighborhoods in hurricane-devastated areas."
     One bank that is eligible is Liberty Bank in New Orleans, whose
 President, Alden J. McDonald, Jr., said: "In the long run, this initiative
 will provide a needed source of flexible funding - the money we need, when
 we need it - to rebuild our city."
     "ICBA is pleased to be a partner in this program," said Camden R. Fine,
 President and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, whose
 5,000 community bank members include 100 community banks in the Gulf Coast
 area. "Communities across the region benefit when community banks work
 hand-in-hand with other businesses to spur development and renew economic
 growth."
     "This is a win for everyone," said Eugene A. Ludwig, Promontory's
 Chairman and CEO. "Corporations and others will be able to change people's
 lives for the better just by depositing funds using a Gulf Coast bank, with
 eligibility for full coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
 There is nothing more safe and certain than Federal deposit insurance.
 Since the FDIC was created in 1933, no one has lost a single penny in an
 FDIC-insured account."
     "By investing in this region and working together, we can rebuild our
 communities," said Jennifer Heard, General Manager of South Central
 Enterprise District at Microsoft Corporation. "In the terrible days
 immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Microsoft provided cash and
 technology assistance to support the relief efforts, and we're in it for
 the long haul. The company continues to support nonprofit partners,
 business leaders and communities in getting back on their feet. Further
 support to rebuild the Gulf Coast communities is essential, and this type
 of public-private assistance will help provide economic opportunities to
 residents."
     "This initiative will be crucial in providing ongoing liquidity to
 community banks which are anchors in economic development," said Saurabh
 Narain, Chief Fund Advisor, National Community Investment Fund. "NCIF has
 invested in Liberty Bank and Dryades Savings Bank -- two of the three
 African- American owned CDFI banks in New Orleans."
     "In the wake of the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast, General
 Motors, the GM Foundation and our employees responded quickly with much
 needed cash donations and vehicles to aid in the relief efforts. While a
 lot of progress has been made, the rebuilding of communities and lives
 continues, and much more still needs to be done," said Rod Gillum, GM vice
 president, Corporate Responsibility and Diversity. "GM is proud to partner
 with the banking community to extend its support by making a deposit to
 support the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge."
     More information about the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Challenge is available
 on the web at http://www.gulfchallenge.org.
 
 SOURCE Promontory Interfinancial Network

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