Chicago Treasurer: Beware of refi tax glitch

The City Treasurer of Chicago, Maria Pappas warned homeowners about an avoidable refinancing glitch. Homeowners who are rushing to take advantage of the low interest rates by refinancing their mortgage in 2020 — as well as their lenders — should watch out for potential duplicate property tax payments, she said in a statement.

Pappas reported that The Cook County Treasurer’s Office has returned a record $51.2 million in duplicate property tax payments for the second installment due August 3, 2020. 

The city has extended the property tax payment deadline through October 1, 2020. Now the treasurer is calling on all homeowners regardless of their filing status to review their mortgage account.

Homeowners have the option to inquire on the Cook County Treasurer’s platform before taxes are due. A message for each property is posted automatically, “if a lender has committed to pay the taxes, thereby preventing a duplicate payment,” the statement notes.

“When a homeowner refinances, overpayments can occur when both the previous lender and new lender pay the property taxes,” Pappas said, a problem the City of Chicago has been trying to prevent through automated tax data processing and reporting technology, and public outreach efforts that aim to increase awareness.

The Treasurer’s Stop Taxpayer Over-Payment System (STOPS) platform prevents such mistakes by automatically returning a duplicate tax payment, she continued.

So far, the software helped prevent more than 13,324 duplicate, second installment property tax payments, according to the Cook County Treasurer’s office data. For the entire year, STOPS has prevented 17,771 tax overpayments totaling $87.2 million.

Both figures are the highest totals on record since the STOPS program launched in 2009.
The Cook County website also provides homeowners the option to see if there was an overpayment on their property taxes going back 20 years and to apply for a refund under the “Your Property Tax Overview” tab.



Ameris expands its commercial banking across the Southeast

Ameris Bank is expanding its commercial lending “in high-impact” markets across the Southeast. Headquartered in Atlanta, the full service, $18 billion asset bank already operates 300 financial centers in the region.

Target markets for the new expansion strategies include Tampa, Fla., Greenville, S.C., Augusta, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C. 

“Our diverse lines of business are performing well,” said CEO Palmer Proctor. “We are serious about growing our business. Ameris Bank’s balance sheet is strong, affording us the opportunity, even during these unprecedented times.” 

In step with a very clear vision “for how Ameris Bank can be most impactful to businesses in our markets,” he added, the expansion strategy includes “meaningful investments in our banking leadership, existing and new markets, cash management and lending offerings,” and investing significantly in the bank’s technological infrastructure. 

“Business owners have a great deal to think about right now, especially as the economic climate continues to change,” said Lawton Bassett, Ameris Bank president. “Our approach – hiring seasoned, highly regarded bankers, equipping them with a robust and optimized cash management platform and a nimble environment – is well planned and already being executed.”

A group of top banking executives joined the commercial banking leadership team across the Southeast.

  • Brian Parks, as regional president overseeing Florida markets in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. Previously he was with SunTrust, now Truist, for 22 years.
  • Greg Clark, as market president for the South Carolina Upstate overseeing growth throughout Greenville, Spartanburg and surrounding South Carolina markets, formerly an executive director for middle market banking with JP Morgan Chase.
  • Remer Brinson, as regional president leading new market strategies in Augusta and growth in Savannah; prior he served as president of the Georgia bank operations, including commercial, retail, mortgage, correspondent banking at State Bank and Trust.
  • Manuel Rey, as middle market banking executive for North Carolina, leading new strategies in Charlotte; previously he was an executive with Fifth Third Bank. 
  • Keith Flynn, as director of treasury services, with 33 years of banking experience, most recently served as senior vice president for 12 years for Regions Bank.
  • Michael Coady, as retail director, with over 20 years of executive banking experience, prior he served as relationship management, managing director for First Republic Bank.

“Their knowledge will be a tremendous resource for our current and future business clients,” in commercial banking and treasury suite to commercial clients of all sizes, said Bassett.

As for planned, substantial investments to the bank’s scalable technological infrastructure, highlights include the advancement of customized account management tools, integrated customer access channels and optimized cash management. 

The focus is on accelerating digital offerings, explained Flyn, the new director of treasury services, “giving business owners, access to point of sale solutions,” ranging from full stations to flexible terminals, to online payment remittance, remote deposit capture and cash vaults.

“We are measured in our approach for continued growth and expansion strategies in both existing and emerging markets,” said Proctor.

OTC Markets welcomes Alpine Banks of Colorado

Alpine Banks of Colorado, founded in 1973 as an employee-owned community bank, has reached a milestone. OTC Markets Group Inc., (OTCQX) operator of financial markets for over 10,000 U.S. and global securities, announced the Alpine Banks has qualified to trade on the OTCQX Best Market and started trading under the symbol “ALPIB”. 

With $4.7 billion in assets, the Glenwood Springs, Col., based holding company of Alpine Bank has become the largest bank to trade on the OTCQX Best Market, according to an OTC statement. Current financial disclosures and quotes for the Alpine Banks of Colorado are now available on the OTCQX website.

Alpine Banks of Colorado upgraded to OTCQX from the Pink market, a higher risk, limited oversight, trading platform for brokers.

Graduating to the OTCQX Market, which connects a diverse network of broker-dealers and investors, marks an important milestone for community banks in the U.S., the company said. It enables banks to maximize the value of being a public company “by providing transparent trading and easy access to company information for shareholders.” 

According to the OTC, to qualify for trading on OTCQX community banks must meet high financial standards, follow best practice corporate governance, and demonstrate compliance with applicable securities laws. D. A. Davidson acted as the company’s OTCQX sponsor, the company said.

“Trading on the OTCQX Best Market represents another accomplishment in our path to greater shareholder liquidity and growth in our shareholder base,” said Glen Jammaron, president and vice chairman of Alpine Banks of Colorado. “As a fiercely independent Colorado community bank, engagement with our communities is vital to our long-term growth and success. The OTCQX Best Market enables community members to become involved in the ownership of Alpine Banks of Colorado.”

Going forward, continued Jammaron, the company plans to supplement its strong employee ownership culture “with a healthy and robust community shareholder base.” 

Alpine Bank operates 40 banking offices across Colorado and serves more than 145,000 customers. The bank has a 5-star rating for financial strength by national bank rating firm, BauerFinancial, Inc., according to the company website.

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