“There is absolutely no reason why anyone would conduct a fake interview,” Mr. Sommers said. Rather than tracking the identities of interviewees, the bank focused on the results, and “the numbers are getting better,” he said.

Of the nearly 26,000 people the bank hired in 2020, 77 percent were not white men, Ms. Burton said. And last year, 81 percent of the 30,000 people hired were not white men, she said. She declined to specify how many of those new hires were for jobs above the $100,000 salary threshold.

But six current and former Wells Fargo employees, including Mr. Bruno, said that fake interviews were conducted for many types of positions. Three current employees said they conducted fake job interviews or knew of them as recently as this year.

In 2018, Tony Thorpe was a senior manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Nashville, overseeing 60 advisers. Mr. Thorpe said his boss and the human resources manager overseeing his area both told him that if he found a financial adviser worth recruiting, and that adviser wanted to bring a sales assistant along, it was permissible — but the assistant’s job had to be posted publicly.

Mr. Thorpe, who retired from Wells Fargo in 2019, said he was instructed to reach out to colleges and business associations in the area where he could meet nonwhite candidates for the assistant job. Mr. Thorpe said he never conducted a fake interview, but was required to document that he had tried to find a “diverse pool” of candidates, even though he knew exactly who would be getting the job.

“You did have to tell the story, send an email verifying what you’ve done,” Mr. Thorpe said. “You just had to show that you were trying.”

Ms. Burton said that she couldn’t speak to practices under Wells Fargo’s prior management, but that the bank kept records of every job interview. The record-keeping is necessary because the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the nation’s top banking regulator, conducts periodic audits. While the O.C.C. doesn’t impose its own diversity standards for banks, it does check to make sure they’re following state and federal laws, including anti-discrimination laws.

Don Banks, 31, a Black wealth manager living in Monroe, La., was contacted by Wells Fargo twice before he was hired. In 2016 and 2017, a human resources representative from the bank told Mr. Banks that he had advanced past an initial interview round for a financial adviser trainee position and would be getting a call from a manager. Both times, no one called.

Mr. Banks had been submitted to fake interviews, according to a former employee who was a manager in the area where Mr. Banks had applied, and who participated in the hiring process involving Mr. Banks’s application. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still works in the industry.

Mr. Banks was eventually hired in 2018 by Wells Fargo in a more junior position. Two years later, he was laid off during cutbacks in the pandemic.

“It doesn’t sound like a great experience,” Mr. Sommers, the wealth management chief executive, said. “It shouldn’t have happened that way.”

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INDUS Announces 2022 First Quarter Leasing and Pipeline Updates

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–INDUS Realty Trust, Inc. (Nasdaq: INDT) (“INDUS” or the “Company”), a U.S. based industrial/logistics REIT, announced the following updates on leasing, its acquisition pipeline, development pipeline and dispositions for the three months ended March 31, 2022 (the “2022 first quarter”)1:

Highlights

  • Completed the acquisition of an approximately 217,000 square foot building in the Charlotte, North Carolina market for a purchase price of $23.6 million, before transaction costs
  • Entered into an agreement to acquire a to-be-constructed approximately 280,000 square foot building in the Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina market
  • Completed three leases totaling approximately 133,000 square feet, including a new lease of first generation space at INDUS’ recently-acquired property in the Charleston, South Carolina market
  • Stabilized2 and total portfolio were both 100.0% leased as of March 31, 2022
  • Commenced the sale process to dispose of the Company’s remaining legacy office/flex portfolio along with a small storage facility that is located in the same park

Leasing Activity3

INDUS reported the following second generation leasing metrics for the 2022 first quarter:

 

 

 

Number of

Leases

 

 

 

Square Feet

Weighted Avg.

Lease Term

in Years

Weighted Avg.

Lease Costs

PSF per Year4

Weighted Avg. Rent Growth5

 

 

Straight-line

Basis

 

 

Cash Basis

New Leases

1

10,000

5.0

$0.49

46.3%

28.6%

Renewals

1

38,846

2.1

$0.13

12.6%

12.1%

Total / Avg.

2

48,846

2.7

$0.62

18.5%

15.0%

In addition to the above leases signed during the period, INDUS also executed a first generation lease with the existing tenant to expand into the balance of the Charleston, South Carolina property acquired in November 2021. This lease totaled approximately 84,000 square feet and is expected to commence in June 2022.

As of March 31, 2022, INDUS’ 36 buildings aggregated approximately 5.4 million square feet. INDUS’ portfolio percentage leased and percentage leased of stabilized properties were as follows:

 

Mar. 31,

2022

Dec. 31,

2021

Sept. 30,

2021

June 30,

2021

Percentage Leased

100.0%

98.4%

95.4%

95.3%

Percentage Leased – Stabilized Properties

100.0%

100.0%

99.4%

99.4%

Acquisition Pipeline

During the 2022 first quarter, INDUS completed the acquisition of a recently constructed, 217,000 square foot building in the Charlotte, North Carolina market (“782 Paragon Way”). 782 Paragon Way is fully leased on a short-term basis through July 2022 with in-place rents that we believe are below current market rates. The Company expects that 782 Paragon Way will be re-leased to stabilize at an approximate 4.7% cash capitalization rate. The Company used cash on hand to pay the $23.6 million purchase price, before transaction costs.

Also during the 2022 first quarter, the Company announced that it entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a to-be-constructed, approximately 280,000 square foot building in the Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina market (the “Greenville/Spartanburg Acquisition”), which is being developed on speculation by the seller. The Greenville/Spartanburg Acquisition is expected to be delivered upon completion in the 2023 first quarter and would be the Company’s first entry into this market.

The following is a summary of INDUS’ acquisition pipeline as of March 31, 2022:

 

 

Acquisition

 

 

Market

 

Building Size (SF)

 

 

Type

Purchase Price

(in millions)

 

Expected
Closing

Acquisitions Under Contract

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Acquisition (two buildings)

Nashville, TN

184,000

Forward (42.9%

pre-leased)

$31.5

Q2 2022

Charleston Forward Acquisition (one building)

Charleston, SC

263,000

Forward

$28.0

Q4 2022

Greenville-Spartanburg Acquisition

(one building)

Greenville-Spartanburg, SC

280,000

Forward

$28.5

Q1 2023

Charlotte Forward Acquisition (one building)

Charlotte, NC

231,000

Forward

$21.2

Q2 2023

Subtotal – Acquisitions Under Contract

958,000

 

$109.2

 

The acquisitions in INDUS’ pipeline are each subject to certain remaining contingencies. There can be no guarantee that these transactions will be completed under their current terms, anticipated timelines, or at all.

Development Pipeline

The following is a summary of INDUS’ development pipeline as of March 31, 2022:

 

Name

 

Market

Building Size (SF)

 

Type

Expected Delivery

Owned Land

 

 

 

 

Chapmans Road (one building)

Lehigh Valley, PA

103,000

66% Pre-leased

Q2 2022

110 Tradeport Drive (one building)

Hartford, CT

234,000

67% Pre-leased

Q3 2022

Landstar Logistics (two buildings)

Orlando, FL

195,000

Speculative

Q3 2022

American Parkway (one building)

Lehigh Valley, PA

206,000

Speculative

Q2 2023

 

 

 

 

 

Land Under Purchase & Sale Agreement

Lehigh Valley Land parcel (one building)

Lehigh Valley, PA

90,000

Speculative

Q3 2023

Total Development Pipeline

 

828,000

 

 

INDUS expects that the total development and stabilization costs of developments in its pipeline will total approximately $96.0 million (including all amounts previously spent). The Company estimates that the underwritten weighted average stabilized Cash NOI yield on its development pipeline is between 6.0% – 6.5%.6 Actual initial full year stabilized Cash NOI yields may vary from INDUS’ estimated underwritten stabilized Cash NOI yield range based on the actual total cost to complete a project or acquire a property and its actual initial full year stabilized Cash NOI.

Closing on the purchase of the Lehigh Valley Land parcel and the completion and stabilization of the projects in the development pipeline are each subject to a number of contingencies. There can be no guarantee that these transactions and developments will be completed under their current terms, anticipated timelines, at the Company’s estimated underwritten yields, or at all.

Disposition Pipeline

During the 2022 first quarter, INDUS commenced the sale process to fully exit its legacy investment in its remaining office/flex properties (“Office/Flex Portfolio”). The Office/Flex Portfolio is comprised of seven buildings totaling approximately 175,000 square feet located in Windsor and Bloomfield, Connecticut. Additionally, INDUS intends to sell an approximate 18,000 square foot storage building that is located within the same business park. Following the sale of the Office/Flex Portfolio, INDUS is expected to be a pure-play industrial/logistics REIT.

About INDUS

INDUS is a real estate business principally engaged in developing, acquiring, managing, and leasing industrial/logistics properties. INDUS owns 36 buildings aggregating approximately 5.4 million square feet in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

Forward-Looking Statements:

This Press Release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements include INDUS’ beliefs and expectations regarding future events or conditions including, without limitation, statements regarding the completion of acquisitions under agreements, pre-leasing agreements, construction and development plans and timelines, expected total development and stabilization costs of developments in INDUS’ pipeline, the estimated underwritten stabilized Cash NOI yield of the Company’s development pipeline, the Company’s intention to exit its office/flex portfolio, and expected capital availability and liquidity. Although INDUS believes that its plans, intentions and expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved. The projected information disclosed herein is based on assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by INDUS as of the date hereof, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive and regulatory uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of INDUS, and which could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Other important factors that could affect the outcome of the events set forth in these statements are described in INDUS’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including the “Business,” “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” sections in INDUS’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, filed with the SEC on March 11, 2022, as updated by other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. INDUS disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this press release except as required by law.

1 Portfolio information and statistics are comprised solely of the Company’s industrial/logistics buildings and excludes the Company’s office/flex portfolio and other properties held for sale.

2 Stabilized properties reflect buildings that have reached 90% leased or have been in service for at least one year since development completion or acquisition date, whichever is earlier.

3 Leasing metrics exclude new and renewal leases which have an initial term of twelve months or less, as well as leases for first generation space on properties acquired or developed by INDUS. Leasing metrics also exclude leases tied to properties undergoing redevelopment or repositioning. During the 2022 first quarter, INDUS commenced the repositioning of 52,000 square feet in Connecticut from principally office use to an industrial/logistics use. During the 2022 first quarter, the Company entered into a 7-year lease with a new industrial/logistics tenant to occupy that space upon the completion of its repositioning. The existing tenant in that space will pay an early termination fee of approximately $7.40 per square foot upon completion of the work related to the repositioning.

4 Lease cost per square foot per year reflects total lease costs (tenant improvements, leasing commissions and legal costs) per square foot per year of the lease term.

5 Weighted average rent growth reflects the percentage change of annualized rental rates between the previous leases and the current leases. The rental rate change on a straight-line basis represents average annual base rental payments on a straight-line basis for the term of each lease including free rent periods. Cash basis rent growth represents the change in starting rental rates per the lease agreement on new and renewed leases signed during the period, as compared to the previous ending rental rates for that same space. The cash rent growth calculation excludes free rent periods.

6 As a part of INDUS’ standard development and acquisition underwriting process, INDUS analyzes the targeted initial full year stabilized Cash NOI yield for each development project and acquisition target and establishes a range of initial full year stabilized Cash NOI yields, which it refers to as “underwritten stabilized Cash NOI yields.” Underwritten stabilized Cash NOI yields are calculated as a development project’s or acquisition’s initial full year stabilized Cash NOI as a percentage of its estimated total investment, including costs to stabilize the buildings to 95% occupancy (other than in connection with build-to-suit development projects and single tenant properties). INDUS calculates initial full year stabilized Cash NOI for a development project or acquisition by subtracting its estimate of the development project’s or acquisition’s initial full year stabilized operating expenses, real estate taxes and non-cash rental revenue, including straight-line rents (before interest, income taxes, if any, and depreciation and amortization), from its estimate of its initial full year stabilized rental revenue.

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Independence Realty Trust Announces First Quarter 2022 Dividend

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Independence Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: IRT) (“IRT”) announced that today IRT’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share of IRT common stock, payable on April 22, 2022 to stockholders of record at the close of business on April 1, 2022.

Upon the completion of our merger with STAR, we are in a unique position of strength,” said Scott Schaeffer, Chairman and CEO of IRT. “We plan to invest our excess cash flow into several investment opportunities that will deliver strong returns, namely our value add renovations and development projects. The Board will continue to evaluate IRT’s capital allocation strategy to ensure it is maximizing value for our shareholders.”

About Independence Realty Trust, Inc.

Independence Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: IRT) is a real estate investment trust that owns and operates multifamily apartment properties in 119 communities, across non-gateway U.S. markets including Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, IN, Oklahoma City, OK, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Houston, TX, Nashville, TN, and Memphis, TN. IRT’s investment strategy is focused on gaining scale within key amenity rich submarkets that offer good school districts, high-quality retail and major employment centers. IRT aims to provide stockholders attractive risk-adjusted returns through diligent portfolio management, strong operational performance, and a consistent return on capital through distributions and capital appreciation. More information may be found on the Company’s website www.irtliving.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements can generally be identified by our use of forward-looking terminology such as “will,” “strategy,” “expects,” “seeks,” “believes,” “potential,” or other similar words. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, our expectations as to the timing and amount of future dividends and anticipated benefits of our merger transaction with STAR. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions and our actual results may differ materially from the expectations, intentions, beliefs, plans or predictions of the future expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are difficult to predict and not within our control. In addition, these forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions with respect to future business strategies and decisions that are subject to change. Risks and uncertainties that might cause our future actual results and/or future dividends to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: risks related to the impact of COVID-19 and other potential future outbreaks of infectious diseases on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and performance and those of our residents as well as on the economy and real estate and financial markets; changes in market demand for rental apartment homes and pricing pressures, including from competitors, that could limit our ability to lease units or increase rents or that could lead to declines in occupancy and rent levels; uncertainty and volatility in capital and credit markets, including changes that reduce availability, and increase costs, of capital; inability of tenants to meet their rent and other lease obligations and charge-offs in excess of our allowance for bad debt; legislative restrictions that may delay or limit collections of past due rents; risks endemic to real estate and the real estate industry generally; impairment charges; the effects of natural and other disasters; delays in completing, and cost overruns incurred in connection with, our value add initiatives and failure to achieve projected rent increases and occupancy levels on account of the initiatives; the structure, timing and completion of our merger transaction with STAR and any effects of the announcement, completion of the merger, including failure to realize the cost savings, synergies and other benefits expected to result from the merger; the ability to successfully integrate the IRT and STAR businesses; the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement, including failure to receive required stockholder approvals; the risk that the parties may not be able to satisfy the conditions to the merger in a timely manner or at all; risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the announced merger transaction; the risk that the merger and its announcement could have an adverse effect on our ability to retain and hire key personnel and maintain relationships with our customers and suppliers, and on our operating results and businesses generally; unexpected costs of REIT qualification compliance; unexpected changes in our intention or ability to repay certain debt prior to maturity; inability to sell certain assets within the time frames or at the pricing levels expected; costs and disruptions as the result of a cybersecurity incident or other technology disruption; and share price fluctuations. Please refer to the documents filed by us with the SEC, including specifically the “Risk Factors” sections of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and our other filings with the SEC, which identify additional factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law. In addition, the declaration of dividends on our common stock is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and depends upon a broad range of factors, including our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, the annual distribution requirements under the REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, applicable legal requirements and such other factors as our Board of Directors may from time to time deem relevant. For these reasons, as well as others, there can be no assurance that dividends in the future will be equal or similar to the amount of the dividend described in this press release.

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Far From the Big City, New Economic Life

Research by Rebecca Diamond, an economist at Stanford University, and Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, explains the attraction. They worked out how costs affect living standards in various parts of the country.

Workers without a four-year college degree earn little in the Cookeville commuting zone — their income puts them among the poorest 10 percent of households in hundreds of commuting zones across the country. After adjusting for the local cost of living, however, their purchasing power rises to the top 10 percent.

They can live more comfortable lives than if they moved to a bigger city, like Nashville or Knoxville. According to Ms. Diamond and Mr. Moretti’s work, which is based on data from 2014, the household income of a typical worker who never finished high school in Cookeville is about $43,000. In New York it is $58,000; in San Francisco, $62,000.

Still, adjusting for the local cost of living, the workers in San Francisco and New York could afford much less — roughly what someone with an income of $37,000 could buy in a city like Cleveland, which ranks in the middle of the national income distribution. The Cookeville workers, by contrast, live as if they were making $46,000 in Cleveland.

Big cities are not that good a deal for even highly educated workers. They do earn much higher wages in New York than in Cookeville — indeed, the college educated reap a bigger pay premium if they work in bigger cities than their less-educated peers. But according to the researchers, all the extra wages are eaten up by higher costs.

It’s mostly about housing. Last November, the typical home in Cookeville cost $217,303, according to Zillow. That’s one-fourth of the median price of a home in Los Angeles and one-sixth of the price in San Francisco. Median rent in Jackson County is $548 per month.

Housing costs are putting a big dent in the case for urban America. “If you are trying to raise people’s standard of living you want to move them away from big cities not towards them,” said Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. He wrote a research paper with David Card, his colleague at Berkeley, and Moises Yi of the Census Bureau that pours more cold water on the supposed advantages of America’s megalopolises.

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Beacon Announces Acquisition of Crabtree Siding and Supply

HERNDON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Beacon (Nasdaq: BECN) (the “Company”) announced today the acquisition, effective January 1, 2022, of Crabtree Siding and Supply (“Crabtree”), a wholesale distributor of residential exterior building materials, including a broad offering of complementary products, to contractors and homebuilder customers. Crabtree has built a strong reputation for long-term mutually beneficial relationships with customers and suppliers, reaching annual sales of approximately $1 million. Their Cookeville, Tenn. location is strategically located in the growing market between Nashville and Knoxville.

“Joining forces with Beacon is a step ahead for our customers,” commented Donna Crabtree, Crabtree’s Owner. “We have grown the business from humble beginnings by working hard and treating customers right, and it’s clear that those values are inherent at Beacon.”

“We are pleased to welcome Crabtree to Beacon’s team. Their history of excellent customer service and supplier relations, combined with a superior location, will allow us to further grow Beacon’s presence in Tennessee, particularly this important but underserved area of the state,” commented Munroe Best, President, South Division Beacon.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains information about management’s view of Beacon’s future expectations, plans and prospects that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify forward-looking statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historic or current facts and often use words such as “anticipate”, “estimate”, “expect”, “believe”, “will likely result”, “outlook”, “project” and other words and expressions of similar meaning. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, but not limited to, those set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of Beacon’s latest Form 10-K and subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent Beacon’s views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while Beacon may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point, Beacon specifically disclaims any obligation to do so, other than as required by applicable law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Beacon’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

About Beacon

Founded in 1928, Beacon is a Fortune 500, publicly traded distributor of roofing materials and complementary building products in North America, operating over 400 branches throughout all 50 states in the U.S. and 6 provinces in Canada. Beacon serves an extensive base of over 80,000 customers, utilizing its vast branch network and diverse service offerings to provide high-quality products and support throughout the entire business lifecycle. Beacon offers its own private label brand, TRI-BUILT, and has a proprietary digital account management suite, Beacon PRO+, which allows customers to manage their businesses online. Beacon’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BECN. To learn more about Beacon, please visit www.becn.com.

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