Damon Burns is a New Orleans native with over 15 years of experience in public finance, entrepreneurship, capital markets and financial technology. Since July 2016, he has served as Chief Executive Officer of Finance New Orleans, a quasi-government financial institution with a mission to invest in affordable housing, economic development and climate resilience projects that improve the quality of life in New Orleans.
Finance New Orleans encountered financial and operating challenges after Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession which sparked a 90% decline in total assets. Burns is leading a plan to reestablish Finance New Orleans as a key investor in New Orleans’ economic growth. Early milestones include the implementation of a new business model focused on providing homeowners, businesses and government agencies with green financial products designed to increase climate resilience and economic opportunity. In 2017, The Center for Community Investment selected Burns to participate in the Fulcrum Fellowship program with a goal of accelerating the strategic vision of Finance New Orleans.
Prior to joining Finance New Orleans, he founded Munivestor, a financial technology company focused on the municipal finance industry using $225K in venture capital. Munivestor’s customers included municipalities, commercial banks and asset managers. The startup was selected to participate in startup programs including Techstars’ Risingstars Bootcamp, Morgan Stanley’s FinTech Investor Showcase and PowerMoves NOLA.
In 2011, he became an Investment Committee member of the New Orleans Startup Fund, which provides early stage capital to New Orleans based companies with high-growth potential. After being exposed to the startup investment business with NOSF, he co-founded inNOLAvation with a group of minority entrepreneurs in search of investment capital. The group provided over $50,000 in resources to minority entrepreneurs and high school students attempting to build technology-based companies.
Burns also spent time as a public finance investment banker with Raymond James|Morgan Keegan where he led over $1 billion in municipal bond transactions for issuers such as Finance New Orleans, City of New Orleans, Regional Transportation Authority and Orleans Parish School Board. The company named him the 2012 Banker of the Year for his performance.
Before entering investment banking, he received formal credit analyst training from Comerica Bank in Houston, Texas where he provided analytical support to small business bankers. With a desire to return home for post-Katrina recovery, he was hired as a Program Manager for Louisiana Economic Development’s $75 million Hurricane Katrina Small Business Recovery Fund.
Burns has served as a board member for various professional and civic organizations including the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, St. Augustine High School, Hancock Whitney Bank Community Advisory Committee, Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, Benjamin Mays Charter School, and the City of New Orleans Tax Commission.
Burns earned a Marketing degree from Texas Southern University in 2004 and a Finance MBA from the University of New Orleans in 2005. He also earned a professional certificate in Urban Redevelopment from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.