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Mayor's Task Force for Downtown Lending | Congress for the New Urbanism

Mayor's Task Force for Downtown Lending

One of the lasting marks from the Great Recession has been a decrease in lending.  This can be a good thing if it means that financially-unsound projects don't get funded.  Unfortunately, not only unsound but entirely sound projects have been swept up in this consequence.


Financially-sound mixed use projects have been especially hard hit in the lending markets.  This poses a major hurdle to urban redevelopment and is the subject of an entire CNU Initiative on how to reduce regulations that exacerbate the issue.


To address this in Montgomery, Mayor Todd Strange asked us to form the Mayor's Task Force for Downtown Lending with the goal of bringing bankers together to discuss potential solutions. 


Initially, we weren't sure what to expect.  Would this simply be another meeting without results?  Would the bankers even be willing to discuss the issues together?


Needless to say, we've been thrilled at the early results.  Over 15 local, regional, and national banks are participating with many sending multiple participants.  The biggest success so far has been the joint conversations through which developers, bankers, and municipal officials have learned each other's different perspectives.


This was further enhanced when John Norquist recently travelled to Montgomery to meet with the Mayor's Task Force for Downtown Lending.  Through a series of private meetings and a gathering of the task force as a whole, a wide variety of ideas were exchanged.  The bankers have commented on how helpful John was in framing the federal regulatory hurdles and efforts to reduce those hurdles.


Best of all, this success story can easily be replicated in cities throughout the country.  The first step is simply to gather the banking leaders and patiently begin to discuss (and, of course, it doesn't hurt if the Mayor is the one calling the meetings!).


If you'd like to learn more about how we organized the task force, feel free to contact me at:  chad.emerson@montgomeryal.gov.

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