Attorney Robert E. James, II, of Carver State Bank was elected Chairman of the National Bankers Association (NBA), the Washington, DC headquartered trade association that represents our nation’s minority-owned banks. The election took place on October 13, 2020, during the business session of the NBA Convention that was held virtually. James, II succeeds Kenneth Kelly of First Independence Bank of Detroit, Michigan who chaired the Association for 2 years. James, II previously served as NBA Board Secretary and Legislative Committee Chair.
Founded in 1927, Association’s membership includes banks that are owned by African Americans. Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and women. Recognized as the voice of minority banking in America, the NBA’s mission is to create an inclusive financial services industry and a vibrant business environment for minority financial institutions, their customers and the communities they serve. Member banks are located in twenty-two states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to his banking activities, James, II is a public finance attorney, management consultant and real estate developer. He first entered banking 20 years ago when he was elected a Director of Carver State Bank. In addition to serving as a member of the bank’s board, he is the bank’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and President of the Carver Community Development Entity (CDE), a subsidiary of the bank’s holding company. As the leader of Carver’s CDE, he has successfully deployed Carver’s 2017 allocation of $30 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) to stimulate almost $65 million in total investments in healthcare and community facilities, as well as manufacturing and other small businesses in underserved rural and urban communities throughout Georgia, creating 389 permanent jobs and 227 construction jobs. Prior to winning the 2017 NMTC allocation, he led Carver’s participation in more than $70 million other NMTC transactions.
On July 15, 2020, Carver Financial Corporation became the recipient of a second allocation of $50 million in NMTCs from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. In the history of the NMTC program, Carver is the only Georgia community bank to ever win an allocation, and the only Georgia business not headquartered in Atlanta to secure an allocation.
With Carver’s support, Robert, II also founded and serves as acting Executive Director of Catalyst Development Corporation, a 501(c) (3) loan fund that raised over $300,000 in grants in less than two years to support its mission to address the root causes of poverty through community partnerships and flexible financing for affordable housing and other economic development activities. Carver’s leadership believes that Catalyst can be an integral part of the implementation of Carver’s strategic plan.
For several years, James, II has represented Carver at national and regional banking conferences sponsored by the supervisory agencies, the National Bankers Association, the Community Development Banking Association, Federal Home Loan Bank, and other entities. He also engages legislative and regulatory representatives on matters of importance to Carver, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions. He is frequently a panelist or keynote speaker on topics such as layered financing, community economic development, tax credits, and strategic planning. In addition to his leadership roles with the National Bankers Association, James, II is also a Director of the Community Development Bankers Association.
James, II served as Southeastern Regional Teen President of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. from 1988-90. After graduating with honors from Savannah Country Day School in 1988, James, II earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, at Howard University in Washington, DC, in 1992. At Howard, he was a Harry S. Truman Scholar and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
James, II earned the Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1995. He was the recipient of the Earl Warren Legal Training Scholarship and elected President of the Harvard Black Law Students Association. During the summers of 1993 and 1994, he worked as a summer associate with three of Atlanta’s prestigious law firms, King and Spalding, Troutman Sanders, LLP and Long, Aldridge and Norman, LLP.
During the summer of 1995, James, II served as a volunteer legal consultant for the African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency, Inc., and spent two months in South Africa performing legal duties and helping with the chartering and redevelopment of Wilberforce Institute which is now a thriving educational institution near Johannesburg.
James, II was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1995 and worked as an associate in the Atlanta firm of Troutman Sanders from 1995 to 2000 where he specialized in corporate, banking and government matters.
James, II led the Carver in the land acquisition, and then worked with architects and contractors to design and construct the Carver branch at the corner of Eisenhower Drive and Skidaway Road in Savannah.
James, II is a member of Mu Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Lambda Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, both in Savannah. He is the father of Lauren Connally James, age 15.