Cobi Jackson Named Wells Fargo Community Development Officer
Northeast Portland Native
May 31, 2012Northeast Portland native Cobi Jackson is Wells Fargo’s new community development officer for Oregon and Southwest Washington, with a focus on the bank’s programs under the federal Community Reinvestment Act.
Jackson comes to her new position from the nonprofit sector, where she has worked for the past six years with the One Economy Corporation on economic and technology development for underserved communities around the world.
Now her mission will be helping connect local communities to better credit and financial options, and building partnerships with nonprofit groups in reaching the same goals.
“I definitely am a Portland girl, born and raised,” Jackson says. “My family’s here, I’m raising my children here, and I really care about our community.”
The CRA, passed in 1977, requires the bank to make investments, loans and other financial services available to low- and moderate-income communities and individuals; it also requires banks to make financing available to affordable housing developers and loans and technical assistance to small business owners.
Jackson is officially a vice president of the bank in charge of making sure such programs are working at the community level.
“The job is fairly broad,” Jackson says. “It really involves all aspects of working in and with our communities, just to help people get access to better products and have a really good experience with Wells Fargo.”
At the One Economy Corporation, Jackson served as vice president of National Programs and senior director of National Community Impact.
She currently volunteers as the board president-elect of the Portland Housing Center and vice chair of the Bethel Economic Development Commission. She is a former board chair of the North/Northeast Portland Business Association and has served in community leadership roles at the Portland Development Commission and the Sabin School PTA in Northeast Portland.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism, and a Master’s degree in Communications at the University of Oregon.
Jackson comes onboard at Wells Fargo at a difficult time, as the economic downturn and the national bank bailout have tarnished the reputation of big banks.
In Portland, the Occupy Movement has specifically named Wells Fargo as the culprit in a wave of home foreclosures that, protesters say, have hurt the local community.
“One of the things I do bring is a strong tie to the community itself and to our nonprofit organizations,” Jackson said. “Because of that I really do hope to enhance the relationship between Wells Fargo and the Portland community in general — I’ll also work with Southwest Washington and other parts of the state.
“Essentially there are a lot of bad feelings out there and it is part of my job to help alleviate some of that stress. I’m not sure which ways I’ll do it and how I’ll do it, but let me get past week one and then we’ll be working with the group and we will move towards that.”
Tom Unger, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo, says the economy is improving, the bank is making more loans, and the entire staff strongly supports Jackson’s mandate.
“I was just talking to the head of our business banking unit for this region and his team provides loans for small business and middle-market businesses — he said loan growth was up 60 percent in the first quarter over the previous year,” Unger said.
“I was talking to the woman who manages our financing for affordable housing and she was telling me that we’re the leading provider of financing for affordable housing in this region — last year we did $24 million in financing in Oregon for affordable housing,” Unger said.
“Cobi’s backed by an entire team of people,” Unger said. “We have over 6,000 team members in Oregon and Southwest Washington and so she is the head of what she’s doing, but she’s got the support of everybody behind her.”