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You're On Mute

message from the president

“You’re on mute.” Few of us anticipated this would be one of the most ubiquitous phrases of 2020. However, for many Americans, this wasn’t just a phrase — it was the way they felt this year.

 

While those with stable jobs and the ability to work from home thrived, many people did not. While the savings rate for upper-income families increased, low-income families struggled to buy essentials and put food on the table. While some zip codes have been relatively unscathed, COVID-19 has devastated communities of color. While big business experienced record profitability, small businesses, such as restaurants, got crushed under the weight of the lockdowns. While the young and healthy were able to live with relative impunity during the pandemic, seniors and people living with underlying health conditions experienced fear at least and death at worst. While families got to spend more time with loved ones, many people who live alone felt more isolated than ever before. And while homeowners and stockowners benefited from a stratospheric rise in valuations, many renters lost their jobs and fell behind on payments. I have never seen a year exacerbate inequity and inequality to this degree, which makes our work of supporting the most marginalized all the more important.

 

Mercy Community Capital leaned into the aforementioned social and economic crises of 2020, providing catalytic capital to the most vulnerable communities — both urban and rural. In concert with our talented staff and dedicated Board of Directors and Loan Review Committee, we proved that our business and mission are not mutually exclusive. Rather, we achieved excellent impact results in 2020 while improving our long-term financial solvency and delivering on our fiduciary responsibility to our investors. Here are some 2020 highlights:

 

  • We closed 29 transactions that translated into $589 million in total development costs.

  • 87% of our capital went to people at or below 60% of AMI; we served 6,000 residents (half were people of color) resulting in $28 million of household savings; and we achieved a record leverage multiple of 21:1.

  • As we continue to see the progression of climate change, we deployed critical capital in our disaster relief fund to help hardest-hit areas in Florida and did our first deal in Puerto Rico.

  • We brought on new and flexible investments, such as lines of credit, to help keep us nimble in the future, and we ended the year with a 98% renewal rate for existing investors.

  • After three credit rating increases in the last five years, we maintained an ‘AA+’ rating based on the traditional Wall Street scale, and that keeps us in the top 17% of rated CDFIs nationally.

 

We created and implemented a first-of-its-kind fund that provides career exposure to high school youth in our communities. It includes on-the-job training and mentorship, so they can know what is possible to fulfill their career aspirations and realize their dreams. And finally, when asked about our work, Sister Lillian — our former CEO — once said, “It’s not charity. It’s justice. People have a right to safe, affordable housing. We are not just dealing with bricks and mortar. We are dealing with human lives. We want to be known for compassionate competence.”

 

Here’s to more compassionate competence in 2021 and beyond!

 

With gratitude for your continued partnership and support,

Jason Battista
President
Mercy Community Capital