Robert James, II 


Robert E. James, II is a lawyer, banker, developer, consultant and native of Savannah, Georgia, expert in the areas of community development finance, public finance, real estate development, and supplier diversity.


Robert serves Carver State Bank as its Director of Strategic Initiatives and a member of its board of directors.  In these capacities, Robert is responsible for strategic planning for the bank, as well as its community development finance efforts.  Since accepting these responsibilities in 2001, he has helped Carver raise over $6 million in community development awards to the institution, helped the bank earn over $1 million for its participation in New Markets Tax Credit transactions, and led the bank to its $30 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits, awarded for the 2017 round. This award was the first such allocation ever awarded to a Georgia minority bank and the first ever awarded to a Georgia entity outside of Atlanta. He is currently leading the implementation of the bank’s new three-year strategic plan, leads the bank’s government guaranteed lending business, and has primary responsibility for placement and management of Carver’s NMTC allocation as President of Carver Development CDE, LLC.


In addition to his responsibilities with the bank, Robert is also a partner at the law firm Golden Holley James LLP. Golden Holley James is a boutique commercial and corporate law firm nationally recognized for its expertise in public and corporate finance, commercial banking and lending, real estate development, and governmental affairs.  The firm has offices in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Savannah.  Mr. James, who is a member of the New York and Georgia bars, represents issuers and underwriters including the City of Savannah, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and many major bond underwriters as bond counsel, disclosure counsel or underwriter’s counsel. Since joining the firm in 2009, James has had an active role in documenting and closing nearly $12 billion in transactions.


Mr. James is also President of Coastal Legacy Group, LLC, a company he founded in 2004.  Coastal Legacy Group is a real estate development and consulting firm.  The firm’s signature project is the Carver Commons shopping center in Savannah, which opened in March 2011, bringing millions in private investment to the distressed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard neighborhood.  Carver Commons is currently home to the headquarters of Carver State Bank and Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity.


Prior to founding Coastal Legacy Group, Mr. James served as General Counsel of Diversiplex, Inc., a management-consulting firm that helped Fortune 500 companies and government agencies meet critical challenges in the areas of vendor information management, supplier diversity, program evaluation, as well as process improvement re-engineering. The firm maintained offices in Atlanta, Savannah and New Orleans. Its list of customers included the Chatham County Government, for which he developed a new MWBE Program, completed a constitutional legal analysis, drafted policies and procedures, and designed system requirements and led implementation for custom Internet-based vendor management software. 


James worked as an associate in the Atlanta firm of Troutman Sanders from 1995 to 2000.  While at Troutman, he specialized in government-business transactions and general corporate law, serving such clients as Georgia Power Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Carson Products Company, U.S. Filter Corporation, Turner Broadcasting System, AT&T Corporation, and other well-known local, regional and national institutions.  Robert created complex joint venture agreements for public-private partnerships and assisted in the successful financing of Philips Arena in Atlanta.


James earned the Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1995 and the Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1992. 


Robert is a board member of both the National Bankers Association, the leading advocacy group for the nation’s minority banks, and the Community Development Bankers Association, which represents CDFI banks across the country.  He is also a member of Alpha Lambda Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Mu Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the proud father to Lauren, age 13.

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