Raymond James Bank gives its time, talents and resources
With giving back ingrained in our culture, Raymond James Bank associates have found several ways to make an impact.
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that kicks off the charitable giving season annually, but Raymond James and our core business units like Raymond James Bank are committed to the community all year long. Associates give generously of their time, talents and resources to make a difference in their communities. Read on to find out why – and how.
Why we give
Since Raymond James was founded in 1962, giving back has been a key part of our firm’s fabric. Bob James believed in the importance of putting others first, and he made it a business priority. That belief has extended to Raymond James Bank – and as a bank, it has its own unique standard and way of giving.
Back in 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was enacted to encourage banks across the U.S. to help meet the needs of people living in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Federal regulators assess how each bank fulfills its community obligations based on needs and opportunities – but Raymond James Bank also sets its own internal CRA goals to reflect associates’ collective desire to give back.
Over the past several years, Raymond James Bank has continually exceeded service goals and added new community partners in order to maximize its impact. From organizations like Project Prosper, a micro lending and mentorship program, to Florida Resurrection House, a transitional housing facility focused on financial literacy and empowerment, the bank supports more than two dozen community partners (and counting).
How we give
Mike Huffman (NMLSR #1034256) and
Linda Kemp (NMLSR #453695)
Meet mortgage consultants Mike Huffman and Linda Kemp. They have the responsibility of serving low- to moderate-income families in the local community, focusing on down payment assistance programs and other first-time homebuyer programs – but their mission doesn’t end when they leave the office. On top of their day-to-day work, they volunteer in multiple ways, including for the HOPE Expo (Home Ownership for People Everywhere), an event dedicated to educating first-time homebuyers.
Held annually at our corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, the HOPE Expo brings together first-time homebuyers in Pinellas, Hillsborough and other nearby counties. In 2019, 16 bank and community partners helped a record 300+ attendees prepare for home-buying through classes on down payment assistance and other state and county bond programs.
"The HOPE Expo is a great opportunity for potential homebuyers to attend a homebuyer workshop and meet lenders, realtors and nonprofit organizations face-to-face," said Linda. "Raymond James Bank is proud to host this event every year, and I'm proud to volunteer for it."
A testament to the power of the expo, one client shared, "Raymond James Bank should be your first and only stop for your home mortgage needs! Their volunteers are extremely knowledgeable, professional and patient with not-so-well-informed clients like me. Linda was a joy to work with!"
Thanks to last year's HOPE Expo, more than 300 people moved closer to making home ownership a reality.
Step Up for Students
Another Raymond James Bank community partner is Step Up For Students, an organization that empowers parents to pursue the most appropriate learning options for their children, with an emphasis on helping families who lack the information and financial resources needed to access these options. The bank gives back to Step Up For Students through regular donations to its Tax Credit Scholarships, which allow students to consider attending a participating private school or an out-of-district public school that may better fit their individual needs.
The bank also started a mentoring program where students are paired with Raymond James associates to learn about budgeting and other financial empowerment topics – like student loans, the financial aid process, resume writing, and interview and conversation skills.
“Having taught other financial literacy courses, I can say this is one of the most important groups of students to receive our training,” said bank associate Valerie Chevalier. “My favorite part of our time with the students is when we engage in meaningful conversations about real-life financial topics and provide guidance for the future. Our ultimate goal is to help these students become responsible financial citizens.”
The high school mentees have been similarly enthusiastic about the program’s value and real-world approach. One student shared, “I liked learning about budgeting best – its benefits, how to manage and be careful with what you do with it. It’s nice that they are teaching us since it’s not really mentioned at home or in school.”
Habitat for Humanity
In addition to its stand-alone efforts, the bank has also joined in Raymond James' long-standing commitment to Habitat for Humanity. For more than 20 years, associates and advisors have volunteered across the country to help build Habitat homes. In 2010, the bank purchased its first loan from Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, and since then, has purchased more than 225 loans for approximately $36 million. And in 2015, the bank developed a refinance loan program for existing Habitat for Humanity owners to make major home improvements, a program not easily obtained at most banks.
Raymond James Bank’s wholesale team also works with Habitat for Humanity to share lending expertise and ensure loans close smoothly in order to be purchased, thereby freeing up Habitat funds for other families and new homes. The bank helps review processes and train staff regarding traditional underwriting guidelines and documentation requirements for loans.
“[The bank’s] support helps families in our community achieve what they thought was just a dream, allowing us to promote family stability through innovative housing solutions,” said Mike Sutton, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. “Together, we create positive change as we work toward our overarching goal of eliminating substandard housing. Companies and people like you keep us building – thank you again!”
A legacy of giving
Raymond James Bank and its associates are honored to continue Bob James' legacy of giving back. As we grow, so does our impact. And on this Giving Tuesday, we're proud to reflect the legacy we're leaving.
To learn more about how Raymond James Bank gives back to the community, visit www.raymondjamesbank.com.
Raymond James Cares
Together, we make a difference to build, strengthen and grow our communities. To learn more about the firm’s corporate philanthropy, click here.
To see how associates give back all year long, follow Raymond James on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.