Rabobank gets $300K grant from feds for serving distressed communities

Rabobank, N.A. said it received a grant award of more than $300,000 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury for serving economically distressed communities throughout California.

The bank is one of only 69 FDIC-insured institutions nationwide to receive the award through the Treasury Department’s Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) program.

Rabobank was selected to receive the award for providing housing loans, public welfare investments, financial and community services and deposit products in Atwater, Modesto, Kerman, Coachella and Greenfield, according to a news release. The bank is required to reinvest the money in low-income communities.

“Rabobank was founded by farmers who pooled their savings to provide loans to their neighbors and communities who didn’t have access to credit. It is a great honor to be recognized for continuing the principles on which our bank was founded,” said Fred Mendez, senior vice president and manager of the bank’s CRA Division. “This award will help us expand our services in those communities where it really makes a difference.”

The BEA Program was enacted to provide an incentive to FDIC-insured institutions to increase either their level of support to certified CDFIs or increase their provision of loans, investments, and financial services in distressed communities, such as opening new savings accounts, providing mortgages or investing in local small businesses, or both, the news release said. CDFIs are specialized community-based financial institutions that are able to respond to gaps that exist in their local markets.

“The BEA Program encourages private investment in low-income and economically distressed communities across the nation,” Donna Gambrell, director of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, said in the news release. “At a time of worrying unemployment numbers and rising poverty levels, the investments made by these depository institutions made a tangible difference in the communities they serve.”