For Shalley Jones, the CRA Is a Personal Imperative

Community reinvestment and affordable housing are relatively recent concerns for most bankers, but they are old hat to Shalley A. Jones, first vice president of Chase Federal Bank in Miami.

Ms. Jones is the new president of the National Association of Urban Bankers, which represents minorities in the profession. She is a banker who also considers herself a community activist. She believes banks can improve neighborhoods.

At Chase Federal, a thrift with $1.5 billion in assets, Ms. Jones is Community Reinvestment Act compliance officer. Her job, she said, is to make top managers aware of the credit needs of the communities they serve.

Room for Improvement Seen

Ms. Jones feels banks in general are moving in the right directions on community reinvestment and could do more by becoming closely involved with community organizations.

"The overall attitude of the financial institutions is that they perceive CRA as the right thing to do and contribute to the quality of the community." More contact with community people "will give them the opportunity to see what is really going on," Ms. Jones said.

"There are many questions to be considered. How can they make an impact in the community? What are the credit needs of the community?. The financial institutions should be sensitive to the communities' needs and develop products that will help them grow."

She said that as president of the urban bankers group, which is based in Washington, she hopes to enhance existing programs. These include activities to open doors for minority bankers, bring community services and scholarships to poor and moderate-income communities and youth, and support minority entrepreneurs and others who need financial advice.

Ms. Jones is also concerned about cultural diversity in the workplace. "We need to train minorities for senior management positions today."

Active in the Community

She balances the roles of banker, wife, and mother of two children. She is active in such organizations as the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and Metro-Miami Action Plans and heads the Housing and Neighborhood Action Committee. She is also on numerous committees aiming to stimulate production of affordable housing in Dade County.

A native of Miami, Ms. Jones has a BA and a business administration degree from the University of Miami.

She obtained a master's degree in management from Florida International University while working in what she thought was a temporary job - as a teller at Flagler Federal Savings and Loan Association, Miami. She stayed on at the thrift and went through its management training program.

|Believe in Yourself'

Ms. Jones has advanced from making individual home loans to helping make decisions about multimillion-dollar neighborhood projects.

"The thrust is to believe in yourself and make sure you are qualified for any position," she said. "The key is preparation, and education is the backbone to everything. Prepare yourself for any job; the bottom line will be quality."

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