NAACP leader: Give bank bonus for integrating board
By JEFF HARRINGTON
Published September 27, 2004
As president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP, Darryl Rouson has long been on a mission to convince area-based banks to put an African-American member on their boards.
Now he wants to increase the pressure by ponying up something banks are sure to notice: hard cash.
In private meetings last week with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and other city officials, Rouson floated the idea of the city investing millions of dollars with the first Pinellas County bank to have an African-American board member.
"It would be similar to the antiapartheid efforts (encouraging divesting) in those doing business in South Africa," Rouson said.
St. Petersburg uses Bank of America for its major financial services, and that wouldn't change.
What might be in play is about $400-million in fixed-income investments, specifically part of the $100-million of that pool placed in short-term investments, according to St. Petersburg internal services administrator Andy Houston, who oversees budget and finance.
Much of the $100-million, Houston said, is placed in an overnight account with the state to get the highest possible return.
Houston sat down with Rouson last week and plans a more detailed meeting this week to discuss the implications of such a move.
But he also is alerting the city's politicians that there will be a tradeoff if a small community bank is used instead of the state overnight services. "We would make a little bit less and would not have the liquidity," he said.