Community Needs Assessment

Posted By: Comply101

Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 02:49 PM

I'm looking for someone who would be willing to share with me how they assessed the needs of their communities to ensure their community developement activities matched the community needs. I'm sure this is something that has already been done at my bank informally but I don't know how to gather that information. We have been a small bank in the past and have never collected this information for CRA but now that we are Small Intermediate we have to and I'm lost as to how to get this project tackeled. What types of community groups will the examiners contact when they come in for our exam? Any help to get this ball rolling for me or give me some confidence to get this done would be greatly appreciated!
Posted By: Don_Narup

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 04:29 PM

Contact the Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, Planning Commission, Church groups, Non Profits, Redevelopment Agencies, Health Care organizations, Salvation Army, County governmental agencies, a good cross section of oranizations that serve the community.

Get a demographic analysis of your Assessment Area. Determine where the poverty and LMI areas are which is what Community Development Targets. Then do an analysis of your loan and "deposit" portfolios and see how you stack up with serving these areas. If you have few loan OR Deposit customers from these areas are you really meeting the needs of your community?

Do you have any services or products that meet the credit and banking needs of this community.

Probably everyone is going to have low income housing or need to make it easy to buy a home on their list. Can you develop programs that meet this need?

IMO serving on Boards and going to meetings isn't in keeping with what the regulation is intended to do. Banks are going to actually have to do something that contributes to the economic and social well being of their community to pass the CD Test.
Posted By: CRAatBOK

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 05:38 PM

We have a survey we send out every so often. We get a limited response and sometimes the answers aren't real helpful, but it does show we are trying. Make sure you include some grassroots organizations in your study.
Posted By: Comply101

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 05:50 PM

I really like the idea of looking at our loans to determine if we are truely meeting the needs of the communities. I actually found a report the other day that lists all of our loans with the Census Tracts on there so i could scrub that down to see what kinds of loans we are doing for those LMI tracts we have in our assessment area right? I'm not sure how I'd do that for deposits.

I really want the bank to succeed on this, but I don't even know where we got our map from. We say our assessment area is the entire county we are in; however, in looking at the tracts, some are left out in our policy. I'm not sure why they were left out and I have no clue how to reassess my assessment area.

Okay, now I'm rambling but sometimes it's just nice to get my frustration out and then go from there.

Thanks for your help.
Posted By: Comply101

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 05:53 PM

A survey is exactly what I was wanting to do but I didn't know if that was "acceptible". Who handles that for you at the Bank? CRA, marketing? Do you just ask questions about how you can better serve their trageted cause? I found a Social Service Directory on my counties website that had several different types of organizations. Not sure if any of them are grassroots or not.
Posted By: Len S

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 06:01 PM

NewBee05- I have clients who have told me their chamber of commerce maintained studies on community development needs and opportunities. If there is an Economic Development office in your town or county, they also should be helpful. Take a look at what your competition has identified by looking at their CRA public file (it is surprising that bankers seldom seem to look at their competition's public files). Even your state probably maintains an economic development office which might have some helpful information.
Posted By: Geoz

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 06:22 PM

For community services, we start with a copy of the formal assessment of community needs done by our local United Way. Also, you could check to see if your city has performed an affordable housing study - it may be published, if not it should be available upon your request. These are just starting points, but it's great documentation to have on hand.
Posted By: Comply101

Re: Community Needs Assessment - 11/17/05 07:28 PM

You guys have been very helpful! Thank you so much for letting me know I was on the right track.