First Liberty becomes MetaFund’s 25th banking partner

Posted on 01/23/2018

OKLAHOMA CITY – First Liberty Bank has become MetaFund’s 25th banking partner with a $500,000 contribution toward Community Reinvestment Act projects.

Officials also said Friday that MidFirst Bank recently took the lead as MetaFund’s largest investor with an additional investment. The bank is the first MetaFund member to provide a follow-on investment, MetaFund President Bob Dilg said. A bank representative said MidFirst’s latest contribution was also $500,000.

MetaFund, which was launched nearly 20 years ago, provides banks with a partner toward participating in Community Reinvestment Act projects, facilitating transactions targeting distressed community areas that might not otherwise attract development funds. MetaFund injects capital into traditional loan transactions from federal New Markets Tax Credits and its own pool of resources.

In October, for example, Dilg and Chairman Tom Loy announced MetaFund completed a transaction involving Blue Wave and Silver Wave Boats in Seminole, which allowed for a multimillion-dollar expansion in operations and the addition of 150 employees. That project was a joint effort of MetaFund, REI Development Corp., Horizon Holdings, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. and the municipality of Seminole. MetaFund and REI contributed New Markets Tax Credit funds to the deal.

MetaFund was also involved in Oklahoma City University’s acquisition and conversion of the former Central High School in downtown to the Methodist university’s law school. MetaFund has partnered with Habitat for Humanity affiliates and agencies with interests in Arizona, Kansas and Nebraska.

First Liberty is looking forward to collaborating on similar projects, said Sandy Bracken, the bank’s chief financial officer. Loy said MetaFund has been courting First Liberty for several years.

“MetaFund provides us an opportunity to bring a couple of things to life,” Bracken said. “We do get CRA credit, of course. The other thing is, MetaFund has the capability to do loans that we can’t do, to help us serve low-income individuals or community projects. You might have a great customer trying to launch a new venture, for instance, but the bank might not feel comfortable with the loan. MetaFund might present a better route.”

In the last 15 years, MetaFund has received $189 million in New Markets Tax Credits allocations, which provides about 25 percent of the capital needed for qualifying projects. MetaFund has put that money into projects that have created more than 2,200 jobs in Oklahoma, officials said.