Thursday, April 25, 2019

Is SunTrust – BB&T truly a “Merger of Equals?”

“I believe in our quest for a pluralistic and inclusive society where opportunity and support are broadly and fairly distributed, and our past failures—particularly in the area of race—are faced head on and provide us with the tools to do better."
Chairman Jay Clayton
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC 

How undervalued assets add value to a 21st Century Bank-Merger

By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

AMWS April 25, 2019, Charlotte, NC -- Regional banks, SunTrust and BB&T, presented their request to economic stakeholders today – proposing a new, yet to be named, “values-based” financial institution with an estimated $441 billion in combined assets.  The pro forma company would also hold approximately $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits.  The proposed merger is expected to impact some 10-million households in the Atlanta and Richmond Federal Reserve Bank Regions. 

Friends of the court intend to file an amicus brief in United States District Court, South Carolina District, alleging patterns of behavior outlawed by P.L. 91-450.   The court action neither objects to nor supports the proposed bank merger between SunTrust and BB&T.  It assesses need for $100-million economic inclusion within a $100-billion vision of America’s future.  

Historically undervalued Americans are the beneficiaries of an unprecedented socioeconomic action.   According to Politico, certain language in the 2017 tax cut law now rolling out across the U.S. allows investors to defer capital gains taxes for up to a decade if they invest their cash in rural and small-town communities largely left behind in the recovery from the Great Recession.

A lineage of U.S. bank mergers dating back to 1900 may have undervalued many historically disadvantaged people, particularly enslaved Africans and women in “culturally aligned” criminal enterprises described as “Mergers of Equals.

The last time SunTrust engaged in a merger of equals was 2004 when it took over National Bank of Commerce in Memphis, TN.  Bank of Commerce & Trust got started in 1873, a year after Alpheus Branch and Thomas Jefferson Hadley founded the Branch and Hadley merchant bank in their hometown of Wilson, North Carolina.  The Branch Hadley enterprise, reportedly the largest business in the “farming community,” eventually became BB&T (Branch Bank & Trust).

In the proposed merger of equals, the smaller bank (BB&T) takes over the larger bank, SunTrust.  Ironically, it is not the first time in U.S. history that Carolina value changed Georgia values.  In their life, liberty and pursuit of economic security, Carolina planters sought to expand their rice economy into the Georgia Lowcountry.  By the time it happened, an historic undervaluation of assets seemed never to have taken place.  Some good people in the Georgia Lowcountry believed that the undervaluation of assets was essential to their economic prosperity.  During the remainder of the colonial period, no white Georgian voices were raised to challenge that assumption.

Among the rural and small-town communities left behind across the nation is historic Mayesville, South Carolina.  Mayesville is the birthplace of Mary Jane McLeod, an extraordinary daughter of enslaved Africans.  This  Black girl from Mayesville grew up to teach, empower others, start a university, serve as an advisor to two U.S. presidents and consultant to the United Nations.  Today’s learners are getting to know this uniquely endowed American by nine values bequeathed in her last will and testament.   

This is one Black woman, a descendent of Free Africans, enslaved in the great state of South Carolina.  But she’s done something for her historically disadvantaged heirs. Get your whip out my friend, and let’s get busy countering a credible threat to National Security threat on Our Streets, USA!

#WeThePeople trust you, the Majority Whip, to crack that whip in providing for our common defence.” Once upon a time, the duties of the majority whip were to (1) assist the floor leader, (2) ensure member attendance, (3) count votes and (4) generally communicate the majority position.  That was before Black Panther!  That was before we discovered our real-life “vibranium” in an historically undervalued vision of the future.

According to SunTrust Bank, cash alternatives, one of three classes of assets, offer a lower potential for growth than other types of assets but are the least volatile.  They are subject to inflation risk, the chance that returns won't outpace rising prices.  They provide easier access to funds than longer-term investments and may be appropriate for investment goals that are short-term.

Vibranium” is one asset targeted for recovery through a $100 million fight against poverty in the U.S.  Most Americans are in denial about its value within multi-billion enterprises and even its existence.  “Vibranium” has had ripple effects throughout the entire U.S. economy, with plenty of merchants in New York City, Boston, and elsewhere helping to organize the trade of agricultural bi-products—and enjoying plenty of riches as a result.

As you very well know, two banks in our region plan to merge themselves into the 6th largest bank in the United States.  The new name of this $441-billion merged asset will need to address twice as much TRUST as they do as separate entities.  The 45th President of the United States has proclaimed that “Economic Security is National Security.”  But, borrowed talking points should never replace sustainable public policy.

Under the banner of “economic security is national security.”  The Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts, allegedly, “spur investment and catalyze innovation.”  Such politically partisan “dog whistles” historically distract political leaders from the same types of threats that resulted in lost lives at Pearl Harbor (Dec 7, 1941) and, not so long ago in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC on 9-11-2001.

When we consider modern-day outcries in the form of hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo and #Enough, #WeThePeople can see the impact of a dream deferred on our own friends and family.

In domestic #EconomicSecurity terms, a new and improved “vibranium” whip commands consensus on a 10-20-30 Formula to Fight Persistent Poverty.

In the United States, sources say there are 485 counties where 20 percent or more of the population has been living below the poverty line for the last 30 years. These counties mired in persistent poverty are as diverse as our great nation:  Appalachian communities in Kentucky and North Carolina, Native American communities in South Dakota and Alaska, Latino communities in Arizona and New Mexico, and African American communities in Mississippi and South Carolina. They lack access to quality schools, affordable quality health care and adequate job opportunities.

“This is not a partisan issue,” stated House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. “In 2009, these counties were represented in Congress by 43 Democrats and 84 Republicans.  Democrats represented 149 of them, with a total population of 8.8 million; Republicans 311, with a total population of 8.3 million; and 14, with a total population of 5.3 million, were split between Republicans and Democrats.”

Beginning May 18th, 2019, business and political leaders can sponsor one of 100 future trustees for a $100 million trust.  Connect one American economic beneficiary, age 7-24. (ANNUAL DEADLINE APRIL 15TH). 

The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Trusts, established from nine historically omitted ASSETS FOR INDEPENDENCE, will engage Americans, age 7-24 as Community Assets where they live, learn, work and/or worship.  

These economic beneficiaries will engage in LEARN-2-EARN activities to certify them them as TRUSTEES in an unprecedent wealth transfer strategy.  Plans for new Bethune Learning and Earning Centers are moving forward on faith that America’s business, community, institutional and elected leaders will join forces to make business as usual a practice of the past.

Contrary to opinions expressed in Community Reinvestment definitions by banks seeking approval to merge, as “values-based organizations,” a VBO is a living, breathing culture of shared core values among all stakeholders.  This is different from the traditional community structure which is a more machine-like, business approach that focuses on an authoritarian type relationship or rigid organizational structure. 

A values-based organization is a culture shaped by a clear set of ground rules establishing a foundation and guiding principles for decision-making, actions and a sense of community.  In a values-driven culture, the needs of the many must align with the trusted organization’s values in order to sustain an inclusive, unified and motivated workforce.

Bank management and leadership must set examples for their organizations and live the values they preach.  Strongly held value-systems rarely change yet remain flexible to handle changes in strategy or outside influences. A strongly held values-based culture or purpose will remain more stable over time and is characterized by productivity and total community commitment and TRUST.

The proposed merged entity between BB&T and SunTrust will become the 6th largest U.S. bank.  The two banks have yet to address some $533 million in public assets and allocations drawn from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFIFund) of the United States Government.  Historically, these public allocations have benefited wealthy Americans who receive tax credits for investments in low income communities.   

Historically, low-income communities experience a lack of investment, as evidenced by vacant properties, outdated manufacturing facilities, and inadequate access to education and healthcare service providers.  The New Market Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) was supposed to break this cycle of disinvestment by attracting the private investment necessary to reinvigorate struggling local economies.

The NMTC Program was set up within the U.S. Treasury to attract private capital into low-income communities by “permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities (CDEs),” according to the federal government.  The credit totals 39 percent of the original investment amount and is claimed over a period of seven years.

In Mayesville, SC, a story of rural neglect due to the lack of inclusive economic security reveals undervalued assets in the legacy of one Dr.Mary McLeod Bethune.  Colonies of Great Britain, Spain and France were established on Turtle Island.  The inhabitants were unaware that this visit was actually an invasion of their sovereign land to be followed up by centuries of illegal occupation.

On March 18, 1866, The King of Great Britain declared revenue-generating activities in one of its colonies, established on Turtle Island, to be illegal.  This declaration establishes a pattern of behavior that threatens 21st Century, domestic U.S. Economic Security policy. 

According to South Carolina historical records, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Mayes is believed to have served in the South Carolina Militia during the War for American Independence (also known as the Revolutionary War). Mayes was the son of Daniel Mayes and his bride, Elizabeth Drury.

Nov. 10-21 1775: Ninety Six, SC, Patriots sieged.  In Philadelphia, PA, on Nov 10, 1775 an evolving new government raised a Corps of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicolas.  Lt. Colonel Matthew Peterson MAYES, Sr. (son of Drury) born in 1750 would have been 25 years young on Nov 10, 1775.

The colonel’s son, Matthew Peterson “Squire” Mayes II reportedly moved to Sumter County, South Carolina, and gave Mayesville its name just after the war of 1812. The Junior Mayes, Jr. is said to have settled Mayesville, SC, carrying on a family farming enterprise that stretches back to the early 19th century

The historical records tend to omit real-life “vibranium” value.  Such value is just now being revealed through historical research by qualifying institutions of higher learning. As a child, Mary Jane McLeod lived in a one-room house just outside the Town Limits of Mayesville.  Her parents were Free Africans enslaved by the people who brought them to Sumter County.  Federal investigators might review undisputable evidence of stolen peoples’ equity and the impact of its omission on the lives of countless 21st Century American beneficiaries.

 “Vibrainium” in Mayesville, South Carolina

b. 24 Nov 1794/84,   d. 1 Nov 1878  “SquireMatthew Peterson MAYES, Jr., Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina settled Mayesville, South Carolina The Mayes family farming tradition stretches back to the early 19th century, when ruling elder of Salem Black River Presbyerian Church for 29 years.

February 13, 1865, with the assistance of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a bill to incorporate the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company was brought before Congress. After a brief discussion and some confusion about where the bank would be located, "An Act to Incorporate the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company" was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865.
In 1872, Alpheus Branch and Thomas Jefferson Hadley founded the Branch and Hadley merchant bank in their hometown of Wilson, North Carolina. After many transactions, mostly with local farmers, Branch bought out Hadley's shares in 1887 and renamed the company Branch and Company, Bankers.
Southern National Corp.


BB&T Corporation
SunTrust Banks

June 20, 1874, an act of the U.S. Congress authorized trustees of  Freedman's Bank, with approval of the secretary of the treasury, to appointed a three-member board to take charge of the assets of the company and to report on its financial condition to the secretary of the treasury. On June 29, 1874, less than a week after the act passed, the Freedman's Bank closed.

2019:  When introducing Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton remarked, “I believe in our quest for a pluralistic and inclusive society where opportunity and support are broadly and fairly distributed, and our past failures—particularly in the area of race—are faced head on and provide us with the tools to do better. It is people like Dr. Gates who give us that context and enable us to communicate better, who help us on this journey.”  Dr. Gates Jr. discussed his new documentary series, “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC.