Q&A: Building Affordable Housing in New England with JPMorgan Chase’s Mark Migliacci
As major metros like Boston continue to develop rapidly, there remains a need for housing at all levels. Mark Migliacci, Vice President of Community Development Banking in Boston/New England at JPMorgan Chase, was hired locally to expand the bank’s presence in the market.
In his role, Migliacci has quickly become a passionate advocate for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the region.
We caught up with Migliacci to discuss his work promoting affordable housing and advancing racial equity across New England.
Q. Boston continues to be one of the largest metro areas in the country, creating a need for housing at all levels, from high-end condos and multifamily, to workforce and affordable housing. How has JPMorgan Chase been supporting these needs locally and how has the strategy and execution changed over the last 18 months?
A. I think most people’s strategy has changed in the last 18 months or so. This is a unique time for us in the Boston market. I joined JPMorgan Chase in December of 2019 to expand our presence in the community. My role on the Community Development Banking team is to find those opportunities to provide financing to build affordable housing.
Starting when I did was a bit challenging because only three months later we went into lockdown. While it’s been hard to get in front of people the last year and a half, I found that leveraging existing relationships with developers has been really helpful in finding new opportunities for us, as well as creating and forging new relationships with other lenders and investors in the affordable housing space. We’re ready to support local real estate investors and developers in Boston and New England areas.
Business has certainly improved in the last six months. In the beginning, people were unsure whether the market would function as it had up to this point or if there was going to be some sort of catastrophic event. As developers, lenders and investors became more comfortable with the fact that communities continued to support affordable housing development, it remained a priority.
Q. How has JPMorgan Chase been able to work with developers to address the need for affordable housing?
A. JPMorgan Chase has a commitment to invest and lend in the communities where we live and work. Our size certainly sets us apart. As one of the largest LIHTC, construction and permanent lenders in the country, we are able to support both for-profit and non-profit clients with a range of financing needs. We have been in constant contact with local developers and development consultants to assess their needs during this time. We are actively working to help structure complicated transactions with multiple layers of financing and to support state and federal funding applications. Currently, I am working on an exciting opportunity to preserve 116 units of affordable housing in Chelsea with a nonprofit partner.
Q. You’ve been adding a number of new branches in New England. Can you talk about what’s been behind that recent growth?
A. Walking around Boston, you can see the new retail branches in Downtown Crossing, Roxbury and Mattapan. The physical presence here is very exciting. One strength of JPMorgan Chase is that we have both a national and local presence at the retail level. Oftentimes, the tenants of our clients bank at those retail branches. Being able to provide affordable housing support through lending brings it all together.
Q. Community Development Banking provides a number of avenues to shape the region and close the racial wealth gap. What are some of the programs that you’re proud of? Particularly in the last year.
A. I’ve always been focused on financing projects and getting them done. But, it’s nice to step back and think about the people who actually are going to move into these units. They have a roof over their head at an affordable cost, but that’s just the beginning. What really drew me to JPMorgan Chase initially and motivates me to be here is the fact that our impact goes further than just financing a project and moving on.
In 2019, we invested $3.3 million in nonprofits in the Boston-Cambridge MSA to support job skills. Boosting small businesses and supporting financial health and financial literacy is very important for everyone, especially for people who live in affordable housing. Being able to build thriving communities and invest in nonprofits makes me incredibly proud to work here. We’re going beyond lending to have a positive impact on the community.
I think the biggest sign of our commitment, particularly in the last year, is the five-year $30 billion dollar investment that JPMorgan Chase has made to advance racial equity. And $14 billion of that has been earmarked for affordable housing, which includes new loans and new equity investments in affordable rental units with a goal of creating or preserving 100,000 units.