Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside



It was interesting to read in the Vancouver Sun on November 12,2004 that the City under the direction of Councilor Jim Green plans on spending another $650,000.00 of taxpayers money to re-renovate the old Four Corners Bank at the corner of Hastings and Main.

As I read this I thought gee haven't we been down this road a few times before?

For history buffs the answer is yes.

Some of my viewers of this blog will remember that on April 15, 1996, to much fanfare, the bank known as Four Corners opened its doors. The bank was known to my neighbors as Jim Green's bank.

It was originally purchased for $900,000.00 and another $1 million was spent on renovations. The government of the day, the NDP provided a share capital asset of $10 million dollars.

It also hired Mr Green to head up the bank. Mr Green was also appointed by the government to head up their Community and Economic Development unit.

Imagine from principled activist to banker, Mr Green was one happy man.

From the beginning, the NDP governmnt provided $5 million dollars in start up funds and then in 1998 had to provide another $2 million. This was a result, over the ensuing years, of repeated losses. In fact, as chair of the bank, Jim Green, presided over accumulated losses of close to $8 million dollars.

By October 1997, in a short period of two years, the Four Corners had gone through three general managers. It has to be noted that all of these well respected general managing experts had extensive experience in the banking industry. As the last manager was set to leave, he suggested that the Bank needed a chairperson who understood banking and had financial smarts. This was obviously a broadside at Mr Green. Mr Green, in turn explained that the bank was going through a re-structuring process.

The bank was originally touted as a business that would provide jobs to low income Downtown Eastsiders. It was to be the catalyst that spurred economic development for the Downtown Eastside.

It did provide a very modest number of jobs. In fact, only three to four full-time jobs with part-timers rounding the number out to a grand total of 12 employees was hired. But if you factor in, the lay-offs which occurred almost immediately, the job creation aspects was of little significance to residents of the Downtown Eastside. Moreover, according to government records, the bank once provided a small business loan of $5 thousand dollars.

Wow--some economic development Mr Green!

It must also be noted in a report done for the National council on Welfare, only three (3) employees said the training they received and the jobs were of any benefit to them.

The new era government, in 2002, in a bold and necessary move, finally shut the doors of the troubled Four Corners bank.

However, undeterred, once gain and quite shamelessly, enters Jim Green. Mr Green as many of you are aware was elected to Vancouver City Council in 2002. Almost immediately, he had the City purchase from the provincial government, for an undisclosed sum, the Four Corners.

The City after purchasing the bank, spent another $1 million dollars to yes you get it--once again re-renovate the bank.

Now here it is 2004 and Mr Green is demanding that taxpayers again foot the bill for another $650,000.00 of renovations. This time Mr Green wants the bank to be used as a centre for business and economic development.

But wait a minute here Mr Green--wasn't that the original plan?

Mr Green certainly can never be faulted for being a dreamer. But it always comes at a price. And it always costs big-time. And in Mr Green's own words "I can be bought but dont come cheap".

The question begs asking, but who is doing the buying Councilor Green?

To the taxpayers--scary isn't it!

Stay tuned for other posts of Mr Green's economic development messes.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 3:29 AM, Blogger EQ said...

The U.S. Government is the nation's largest provider of financial assistance to women & minority owned small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is Congressionally mandated to assist the nation?s small businesses in meeting their financing needs. The SBA has small business loan programs and services to meet most small business needs. More information on U.S. Government Small Business Loans can be found at ****

How do Government SBA Small Business Loans work?

When a small business owner applies to a lending institution for a business loan, the lender reviews the application and decides if it merits a busiuness loan or if it requires an SBA guaranty. SBA backing on the business loan is then requested by the lender. In guaranteeing the business loan, the SBA assures the lender that, in the event the borrower does not repay the loan, the government will reimburse the lender for its loss. By providing this guaranty, the Small Business Administration helps tens of thousands of small business owners get financing they would not otherwise obtain.

How much money can I borrow?

Here are a few examples of what you can get from SBA small business loans programs:

7(a) Loan Guaranty Program

The 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program is the SBA's primary small business loan program. A maximum loan amount of $2 million has been established for 7(a) business loans.

Low Documentation Loan (SBALowDoc)

SBALowDoc is the SBA?s quick and easy program that provides a guaranty on small business loans of $150,000 or less. Once you have met your lender?s requirements for credit, the lender may request an SBALowDoc guaranty for up to 85 percent of the loan amount. You complete the front of a one-page SBA application, and the lender completes the back. At SBALowDoc centers, the agency processes completed applications within 36 hours.


This method makes it easier and faster for lenders to provide small business loans of $250,000 or less. The SBA provides a rapid response through its PLP processing center in Sacramento, Calif.? within 36 hours of receiving the complete application package. Lenders use their own procedures to approve and service the loans.


The CommunityExpress pilot program is designed to spur economic development and job creation in untapped rural and inner city communities by providing loans and technical assistance. Loan proceeds may be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or real-estate acquisitions.
To be eligible for CommunityExpress, current or prospective small businesses must be located in low- and moderate-income urban and rural areas.

While CommunityExpress is similar to SBAExpress, here are some differences:

? CommunityExpress focuses on predesignated geographic areas that primarily low- and moderate-income urban and rural areas.

? The maximum loan amount under CommunityExpress is $250,000.

? CommunityExpress lenders, together with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, provide hands-on technical training and support, both before and after loan closings, through community-based, nonprofit NCRC member organizations.

7(m) Microloan Program

The SBA?s Microloan Program provides very small loans up to $35,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit child-care centers through a network of locally based intermediary lenders. In addition to making the loans, the intermediaries provide management and technical assistance to microborrowers and potential microborrowers.

What can I use the loan proceeds for?

You can use an SBA small business loan to:

? expand or renovate facilities;
? purchase machinery, equipment, fixtures and leasehold improvements;
? finance receivables and augment working capital;
? refinance existing debt (with compelling reason);
? finance seasonal lines of credit;
? construct commercial buildings; and/or
? purchase land or buildings.

How do I repay the loan?

The length of time for repayment depends on the use of the loan proceeds and the ability of your small business to repay the loan.The term is usually 5 to 10 years for working capital, and up to 25 years for fixed assets such as the purchase or major renovation of real estate or purchase of equipment. There are no balloon payments, prepayment penalties, application fees or points permitted with these small business loans. Repayment plans may be tailored to each individual small business.

How do I get started?

You submit a business loan application to a lender for initial review. If the lender approves the business loan subject to an SBA guaranty, a copy of the loan application and a credit analysis are forwarded by the lender to the nearest SBA office. After SBA approval, the lending institution closes the business loan and disburses the funds; you make monthly loan payments directly to the lender. As with any loan, you are responsible for repaying the full amount of the loan. Visit **** for more info.


Post a Comment

<< Home