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Howard Brown, Jr.

Financier and civil servant Howard Brown, Jr., was born in Eutaw, Alabama, on September 4, 1945, but at an early age he moved with his family to Atlanta. His mother, Bertha, was a teacher, and his father, Howard Brown, Sr., was a bulldozing contractor. After earning his early and high school education in Atlanta, he remained in town, attending Morehouse College and earning his B.A. in 1970. From there he went on to attend the University of Connecticut School of Law, graduating in 1973.

After finishing law school, Brown went to work for the Hartford Insurance Group, rising to associate counsel before he left in 1978. From 1978 to 1981, Brown served as the chief operations officer of O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, where he presided over the expansion of the business. Brown moved into the public sector in 1982, taking a position with the Connecticut Department of Banking, where he headed the legal staff, and by 1985 he was the banking commissioner. While in this role, he became chairman of the National Federal Legislation Committee of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and was called upon to testify before various committees of the federal government. Brown returned to the private sector in 1992, as the vice president of public finance for Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York. In 1995, Brown co-founded Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates and is currently the company's chairman and CEO. Greystone structures affordable housing mortgages that are backed by investment securities.

Brown is a founding member of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Securities Professionals and has served on the board of directors of the University of Connecticut School of Law Foundation, the Metropolitan YMCA, the Mark Twain House and the Connecticut Advisory Board to BankBoston Development Company. He is listed in Who's Who in Government Service and has received the Achievement Award as Outstanding Role Model in the Hartford Community. Brown and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Connecticut.

Accession Number

A2003.184

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/13/2003

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Schools

University of Connecticut - Hartford

Morehouse College

Henry McNeal Turner High School

First Name

Howard

Birth City, State, Country

Eutaw

HM ID

BRO14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

What You See Is What You Get

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/4/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Investment chief executive Howard Brown, Jr. (1945 - ) is the cofounder, chairman and CEO of Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates and is the former deputy banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking.

Employment

Hartford Insurance Group

O'Sullivan Fuel Oil

Connecticut Department of Banking

Kidder, Peabody & Co.

Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91399">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Brown Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91400">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91401">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91402">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91403">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. describes Eutaw, Alabama, the town where he grew up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91404">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91405">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Eutaw, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91406">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the street he grew up on and celebrating holidays with his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91407">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his childhood personality and nickname</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91408">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about attending Eutaw Elementary School and the teachers who influenced him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91409">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being sent to live with relatives in Atlanta, Georgia for high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91410">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects on how living in Atlanta, Georgia differed from Eutaw, Alabama and the effect on him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91411">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his experience in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91412">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his experience attending Henry McNeal Turner High School in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91014">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers being in the band at Henry McNeal Turner High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91015">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers recruiting parties for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91016">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his role models growing up and the activities he was involved in at Henry McNeal Turner High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91017">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91018">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers Morehouse College's Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and Dr. Brailsford Reese Brazil</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91019">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his experience attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91020">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. recalls how he became a lawyer and his experience in the United States Air Force</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91021">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. describes meeting his wife, Elizabeth Brown, and his decision to attend the University Of Connecticut School Of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91022">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about moving to Hartford, Connecticut to attend the University of Connecticut School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91023">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers the professors who influenced him at the University of Connecticut School of Law and his first job at The Hartford Insurance Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88540">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about working at The Hartford Insurance Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88541">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being amongst the first wave of African Americans in corporate law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88542">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his decision to leave The Hartford Insurance Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88543">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his position as chief operations officer and counsel for O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, Inc., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88544">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his position as chief operations officer and counsel for O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, Inc., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88545">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. discusses the political powers in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88546">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. describes the relationship between Hartford, Connecticut and its surrounding suburbs as well as the racial make-up of the city</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88547">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. describes how he became deputy banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/88548">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his job as deputy banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90397">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. describes changes in the banking industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90398">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about working as deputy banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90399">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. recounts how he became banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90400">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being the banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90401">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. describes issues surrounding interstate banking that arose when he was banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90402">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the founding of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90403">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his decision to leave the Connecticut Department of Banking and his time working for Kidder, Peabody & Co.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/90404">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the founding of the Greystone Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91413">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the opportunities he sees within the minority mortgage market</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91414">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon what the banking industry can do for inner-city communities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91415">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about opportunities for banking within minority communities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91416">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon opportunities for young African Americans within the banking industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91417">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his future plans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91418">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/91419">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Howard Brown Jr. reflects on how living in Atlanta, Georgia differed from Eutaw, Alabama and the effect on him
Howard Brown Jr. describes changes in the banking industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s
Transcript
Now what --what was that--was the Atlanta [Georgia] a change for you in many ways living there and how did it differ from Eutaw [Alabama]?$$Atlanta was a real eye opener for my sister [Dannette Lureatas Brown Daniels] and me in several respects. One was I was free to catch the bus and to go downtown by myself which was never allowed in Eutaw to go anywhere by yourself. We were exposed to the black colleges, black football games at [Alonzo] Herndon Stadium which is, which is right--which was right by Morris Brown College [Atlanta, Georgia]. The rivalry between the black high schools: [David T.] Howard [High School], [Booker T.] Washington High [School], [Henry McNeal] Turner [High School] and it was just, just an amazing thing to see the, the pride and--the-just, just the social life, just the hustle and bustle that black folks were doing and the properties that were being expanded at that point. There was Collier Heights where black folks were building their own homes, and not so much that they were moving into areas that whites were abandoning, they were building their own communities and I thought that was such a marvelous thing to see. It sort of reminded me of what my father had done with Brown Avenue [in Eutaw, Alabama].$$And, so a new world really opened up for you is what you are saying?$$Yes.$$And how did that affect you and--you know sort of the relationship to your environment around you?$$Well, it gave me the sense that I too could extend into this world and begin to carve out a way for myself. It wasn't so much that it was family and you were representing a Brown or whomever, but you were representing yourself and you had to rely on your own initiative in a very competitive--very competitive environment, and that's what Atlanta was.$[And isolated from banking.] Insurance had continued to be regulated by the states and not by the federal government --that has historic origins. So then here comes say 1980 or thereabouts. There's the Community Reinvestment Act passed in 1978 [sic, 1977]. The states after passage didn't have to, but after passage various states began enacting their own CRA [Community Reinvestment Act] legislation. Connecticut enacted its version. So, so you have this great impetus from the Federal government and now from the state governments to provide banking resources and sources of credit into areas where banks have their offices and of course we know where the banks' offices were located, they were located in downtown, but who lived downtown? Well, there are -- there were a few folks who lived in the high rises but mostly it was blue collar workers, it was the black folks; it was other ethnic groups who had very limited banking. So that's where the CRA came in, and getting back to the deregulation thing that was very big. You had financial services companies or financial holding companies wanting to get involved in insurance. Several of them wanted to do securities work. There were various legal schemes devised to allow bank holding companies to create security subsidiaries called "Subsection 20 Subsidiaries" which was expressly allowed by the Bank Holding Company Act. So there were a lot of unique mechanizations being proposed to tear down the barriers that separated banking, securities and insurance. So heading up legal you had to really be you know on top of your game to make sure you knew what you were approving and what you were getting involved in.$$Now were you -- this -- first of all, this is a time of a lot of change happening, you know and sort of creative approaches and where also -- isn't this the time of junk bonds or Mike Milken [Michael Robert Milken] and junk bonds or this is a little --?$$They are coming up and around about that time. The mid-1980s saw a lot of what I now refer to as "innovative and creative" investment opportunities. Course junk bonds now are the mainstay of the corporations that don't have investment grade debt. So inherently there was nothing really -- I shouldn't use absolutes, but I will say inherently junk bonds proved to be a very effective way of funding corporations that did not have investment grade ratings from the rating agencies. The problem with the Milken dilemma and those that followed it or were involved in it, is that there were also sprinkled amongst the junk bonds, there was some insider trading claims and other issues that questioned -- that brought into question securities law violations.