Video: 2022 Just Economy Conference’s Advocacy Week

Nearly 200 members from 36 state delegations, including DC, took our Just Economy message to Capitol Hill for more than 120 virtual meetings with Members of Congress, two of the three federal CRA regulators, and the CFPB. Leading up to Advocacy Week, NCRC had dozens of meetings with state leads and their delegations, two Advocacy Week prep calls with participants, and an in-depth review of NCRC’s Advocacy Week Policy Agenda


Megan Haberle, Senior Director of Policy, NCRC

Andreanecia M. Morris, Executive Director, HousingNOLA

Kevin Stein, Deputy Director, California Reinvestment Coalition

Will Gonzalez, Executive Director, Ceiba 

Joe Reed, Senior Policy Advocate, NCRC


NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Haberle 00:00

It is an honor to be here with you this morning. We’ve been hearing a lot throughout this conference about the work that needs to be done to advance a just economy. But I want to talk for a moment about some of the work that has already been done just in the past few days. With our advocacy week for our members, we want to celebrate all of our members who engaged in advocacy week. And thank you for taking part in this event. Advocacy week is a crucial opportunity for our coalition. It’s an opportunity for Congress to hear directly from our members about the issues that you are facing in your communities. This year, we addressed three issues within advocacy week for Congress, given the pending CRA rulemaking, we focused on the need for Congress to support a strong robust CRA rule. We also focused on the need for Section 1071, which reform the Dodd Frank Act passed 10 years ago, and the need for the most robust possible rule under 1071 to be issued. In addition, given the pending talks around the federal budget, we of course focused on a number of areas that are in need of federal funding for our communities, including affordable housing, rental housing, homeownership and counseling resources, additional community investments and workforce supports for CDFIs and other entities. So thank you so much for our members who took part in advocacy week. It is staff supported but member led and it was really a great privilege to witness advocacy week in action. So now to report out on how some of those meetings went are three of our star board members, Kevin Stein, Will Gonzalez and Andreanecia Morris.

Morris 01:56

Good morning. I’m Andreanecia Morris, Executive Director of Housing Nola and NCRC, board member, and chair of the membership and policy committee. So we’re so happy to be with you this morning to talk about advocacy week. How many of you are familiar with advocacy week? All right, so those are the folks who participated last week. So we’re here today to talk about, as NCRC board members and state leads, about the experience that we had last week during advocacy week, and how important we feel it is to participate as members of NCRC as well as advocates in our community. I had the privilege of doing three of those meetings last week with some of our resident organizers in Louisiana, where we met with our two state senators offices and one of our congressional offices, and to have the conversation with them about Louisiana priorities as they aligned with NCRC is an amazing opportunity. But it also reminds us how we have to hold folks accountable, particularly the folks that we send here to Washington to make critical decisions. Sometimes the conversations are pleasant, sometimes the conversations are frustrating, but the conversations always need to be had. And so I want to thank the NCRC team for organizing this opportunity for those of us in Louisiana, and and commit to following up with our congressional delegation. And to expand those meetings. Louisiana is not the biggest state in the Union by any stretch of the imagination. Our delegation is eight people. It’s what sorry, seven people, seven people. And hopefully next year, we will have in the next few years, we’ll have the privilege of meeting with someone who represents the second majority minority congressional district in Louisiana, as a result of lawsuits championed by Louisiana advocates like the power coalition, the NAACP, and the housing Louisiana delegations. So representation matters and making sure that you connect with your leaders matters. Thank you.

Stein 04:04

Good morning, everyone. I am not Matthew Lee. I’m filling in for Matt. I’m Kevin Stein, I work at the California Reinvestment Coalition. And I’m an NCRC board member. Really glad to talk with you about Advocacy Week. You know, I’ve been coming to the conference for about 25 years. And there’s so many great things about it. And hopefully you all feel that. But for for me, one of the best is the opportunity for us to advance our advocacy. This the one time a year. So every year, this is the one time that we come to DC the last few years being a bit of a wrinkle, and have an opportunity to bring our members. So CRC members and NCRC members, it’s this kind of the same community groups working every day in their communities. And we think it’s so important for the policymaker to hear, you know, they spend most of their days meeting with lobbyists. We try and meet with regulators, they spend a lot of time I’m sure talking to financial institutions. So it’s a rare opportunity for them to hear from you all about what’s really happening on the ground. And so we try and take advantage of that. We, first of all, I do want to thank my colleague, Doni Tadesse, who helped us organize the meetings for California. So I secured some meetings and Doni helped organize, we had a great participation from CRC and NCRC. Members, I would say 10 to 25 groups, we took advocacy week, seriously, we had about nine or 10 meetings, we met with representatives from our senators office from the House Financial Services Committee. And we like to also meet with the regulators. So we were fortunate to have meetings with the Acting Comptroller Hsu, who visited us by video yesterday. Martin Gruenberg, chair of the FDIC who spoke before us yesterday, act, sorry, Director Chopra from the CFPB. And we also we’re really glad to meet with our old friend, Janis Bowdler, who’s now at the Treasury Department and who I think is coming to speak later today. We focused on the NCRC agenda. We also, as I say, like to have our folks talk about what they’re seeing in the community. And people were raising issues that, you know, I’ve heard raised at the conference, for us a big issue, and a tough one, what is the solution, but the investors that are buying up all the properties, really consolidating ownership in a way that prevents homeownership from working families, makes life difficult for tenants living in buildings owned by people who don’t really care about them and don’t live in the community. Similar things happening with investors buying mortgages, and as we understand from one of our members in the reverse mortgage context too, concerns about affordable housing a critical need in California and throughout the country, small businesses, Special Purpose credit programs needed. We talked about broadband access as a way to help communities connect to all the benefits that CRA is meant to provide. And we talked about the needs in rural communities and Native American communities. We of course, focused on CRA in particular with the regulator’s who weren’t really in a position to say anything because the because of the open rulemaking. And you know, there’s just so many issues with the proposal that as you’ve been hearing about, and Josh and NCRC, have been doing a fantastic job of kind of walking us all through that and helping us develop positions. What we tried to emphasize and I think what we feel very strongly about, and I sense there’s no amongst us all, there might be sympathy for this position, that though the regulator’s came yesterday and may have said otherwise or suggested otherwise, we really feel that the regulators let us down when it comes to incorporating considerations of race in the CRA. And we’re also concerned Yeah, so we’re hoping that that is something that we all can kind of build some consensus around and make some really strong recommendations around and maybe, hopefully change the proposal. Because I think for a lot of our members, as we’ve been talking to them, they’re they’re wondering, why is this better? How is this better? This is, is this really what we want CRA to be? And the other thing that’s maybe related, and again, tons of issues, but acknowledging our friends at ANHD and Jamie Weisberg for the thinking around this around this placement, so they think they’re dealing with displacement of households. Not really, and we need to have not just giving credit for banks for doing things that are good by penalizing and downgrading banks for doing harm, like discrimination, displacement overdraft fees. So I’ll stop. But this is for us. It’s always a big thing. We have all these meetings, but the follow up is key. And the time this is the time I mean of all the times, this is the time while they’re working on CRA. If you’re wondering how best to do that, or you want a little extra help, contact NCRC we really need to fight in these last few weeks leads last few months before CRA and of course continuing because there’s a lot to do. It’s great to see you all thanks for your advocacy and look forward to see you soon.

Gonzalez 09:52

Buenos dias. My name is Will Gonzalez, I’m the executive director of Ceiba in Philadelphia is great and quite the honor to be here and quite an honor to be on the NCRC board. Advocacy week was a special week. But as you know, it’s a year round endeavor. And we have a great team at NCRC. Want to give special thanks to Joseph Reed, who prepared us very well of series of meetings to be able to advocate on this particular week. As you know, like I said, it’s a year long thing, many topics, but for this week, we focused on three, obviously informing our elected officials about the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of the CRA, the strengthening and defending section 1071 of E CoA, and the Consumer Financial Protection Board. And last but not least, increased support for community investments, including affordable housing. And so focused on that we went to the meetings prepared, the policy agenda is on NCRC a website. And wanted to reinforce I think what Andreanecia said yesterday about membership. Remember that you have a lot of brains that NCRC and that whenever you’re wanting information about or an issue or background, even if it’s at the micro level of your community, NCRC is there to help and it’s one of the benefits of membership. And I heard some complaints that we weren’t using them enough. So let’s keep them busy, because there’s a lot of work to be done. And advocacy week is a collective thing. The Pennsylvania delegation was blessed to count with Donna Henry from Southwest CDC and her crew, Ken Bigos from Affordable Housing Centers of Pennsylvania. So we prepared for the meetings and started off with meeting with our the staff of our senators. Senator Bob Casey, Senator Pat Toomey, Casey Democrat, Toomey Republican, the meeting with Casey was pretty good, because we heard from his office that he wants to make it quote unquote, a signature issue, the enhancement of LMI-tech, low income housing tax credits for affordable housing, and that he’s going to be working on that on the hill. And so obviously, that set off alarm bells, because we want that to happen. And so NCRC is going to follow up, we in Pennsylvania gonna follow up. And it’s an opportunity, right? Because again, right now there’s a bottleneck in terms of affordable housing development, because we need more capital, we need more resources, we have the muscle, at least in Philadelphia, we do with some amazing, strong CDCs. But what we need is more capital and access, low cost capital to with Pat Toomey, it wasn’t as friendly a meeting. As you know, he’s a powerful senator, his last few months in office, where we got stuck on what I think and he’s on many of the committees related to banking was on issues of data for small business loans, etc. And, you know, we’ve basically simplified it, they’re concerned that if you put, if you ask for all this data, you’re going to put a onerous charge on the small financial institutions. We said, Look, we’re in the 21st century, you want this data, whether the Feds asked you to get it or not, it’s a business nowadays. So you know, there’s no one more blind than he who does not see want to see right. So if you cover your eyes, so it’s not, you know, so I don’t know if it resonated with him or not. But obviously, we said the importance of data in the 21st century. Last but not least, not related to finances. We thank the Senator for standing up in this in the winter, November, December of 2020, in January in 21, when he was one of the few Republican senators who didn’t agree with the big lie. And although it was a 32nd comment, but it’s an acknowledgement of that leadership in that issue. We we had meetings with two of our congressmen in person via zoom. One was Congressman Dwight Evans, and the other one was Mary Gay Scanlon. And again, we were blessed that on our team, we had constituents who lived in his district, and obviously with Congressman Dwight Evans, my colleague, Marcos Lomeli, and Ken Bigos from Affordable Housing Centers of Pennsylvania. Were able to talk with the congressman about these issues that we outlined in advocacy week and bring it home and commitment from the congressman to follow up with Mary Gay Scanlon. It was great to see a great conversation between Donna Henry from Southwest CDC and Mary Gay Scanlon because they were talking about all things going on in a neighborhood and board home the history of small businesses and the support that small businesses need. Last but not least, we met with a staffer from Madeleine Dean’s office, and it was intro seemed to see, it wasn’t we weren’t as engaged. But it was interesting to make her aware that NCRC is there for information for them to. And obviously, we’ll follow up and keep working. But again, thank you, thank you, thank you for being part of of this great NCRC family. And as Mr. Taylor said yesterday, we got to speak out. Because otherwise, we’re not going to improve our communities. So Muchas gracias.

Hareble 15:36

Thank you so much. Andreanecia, Kevin, and Will, and everyone who participated in our advocacy week, I’d now like to introduce Joseph Reed, our senior policy advocate, who’s sort of our in house Maestro who orchestrated all of those advocacy week meetings – 121 virtual meetings in all. So I’ll turn it over to Joe to talk a bit about where we take it from here.

Reed 16:12

All right, thank you, Megan. So, good morning, everyone. Know after two long years of looking at you, many of you through zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Google meet, sometimes even Skype, which has surprised me. No, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be here in person with all of you today. This is a great feeling. So again, thank you for coming. And for those of you in this room who participate in advocacy week, yes, I am the one who sent you all those emails over the past few weeks, with talking points, documents, the policy agenda webinars, fought to prep you for all of your meetings. And thankfully, it seems like it was a success advocacy week, when all a better than expected NCRC had 121 meetings scheduled this year. Yes. Great Accomplishment, which is the increase from last year we have 108. So that kind of scares me away, because now we have to try and top this next year. But we’re gonna try. And we met with members of Congress from both political parties from across the country, which included the Speaker of the House, the minority leader, the majority leader, members of the House Financial Services Committee, Senate baking staff and other power players on Capitol Hill. And thanks to the leadership of Kevin Stein, NCRC board member who just heard from, who met with regulatory agencies, two out of the three regulators of the CRA, including the CFPB, as well, and the Department of Treasury. And one of the key takeaways from Advocacy Week we this year, just from the reports that I’ve seen, and by the way, state leads I’ll be contacting later on for some those reports were that? Well, of course, some offices were non committal some of our issues, of course, but most desire to see some to learn more about the CRA and our issues. But there was also a desire to help low and moderate income communities. Of course, the sticking point was how to actually do that. Which of course sets the stage for future conversations down the line. And now, I know many of you who went Africa so we have meetings already in the works, which is great. And advocacy week are for some long term attendees or members of NCRC. Hill day, as you might know, this is my favorite event of our conference, advocacy week. It’s our memberships opportunity to interact with congressional members. Not via email, not sign a letter, but face to face or where in this case screen to screen, but you get what I’m saying with a member and one of the joys I get it from this job in the Policy and Government Affairs Department is seen just the excitement of our members faces like on their faces after they come back from meeting with the members that everyone’s just super excited. And no I live for that. But the work to create a just economy does not stop at Advocacy Week. In fact, it does not stop after this conference. And in fact I’m don’t think I’m providing any spoilers here is not going to stop anytime soon. But that’s why we’re all here today. And why so many of you actually join in CRC. You want to help guide our nation onto the path to create a just economy on the path to creating equality for all for equity for all to put us on the path that so many civil rights leaders and groups in the past have attempted to put us on in the past. But one of the most pressing policy issues as of today, as Megan stated early and you’ve heard a few of other board members mentioned, of course, the notice of proposed rulemaking for the Community Reinvestment Act, from the Office of the Comptroller of currency, that’s the OCC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC and the Federal Reserve. And by the way, yes, I am saying the entire name of the organization because I’m about 105%, certain, with a positive 5% margin of error. Some of you do that math in the car, that there are many in this room that don’t know some of those acronyms. We speak them all the time. So we’ll make sure that everyone’s on the same page. But this proposed rulemaking presents the most significant change to the CRA regulation in two decades over two decades, actually. And we could use the help of every single person in this room. That’s why I would be remiss if I did not plug our theory common table that’s right outside. Well, you can use some of our sample climate letters, which can be found on our CRA, treasureCRA, landing page, which can be found on NCRC’s website. And I will also be remiss if I didn’t, I think there might be a slide for those I’m not sure but membership for NCRC. If you are interested in participating in this event next year, which again, the people who actually come to Advocacy Week, so we must be members of NCRC. Or if you’re just interested in some of the work that we do in the policy, and advocacy space, feel free to join, I encourage you to become members. And please contact our membership department if you would like to do that do so. And again, I just like to thank everyone who participated in advocacy Week this year. Again, just a huge success. I hope that I can see all of you here again next year. Hopefully, it’s a hill day, not a week. That’s easy to plan. But I really hope to see all of you and of course new faces as well in 2023 and thank you all for coming. I want you to enjoy the rest of the conference, and have a good day. Thank you

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