American Banker: Banks change their tack in navigating the culture war

American Banker, April 5, 2022, Banks change their tack in navigating the culture war 

After years of mounting concern over the politicization of American finance, the banking industry appears to be making a quiet retreat from the culture war trenches.

Not historically known for their social activism, prominent bankers had grown more comfortable taking political stands over the past decade. Since the mid-2010s, banks and their CEOs have waded into several high-profile political fights, ranging from firearm financing to immigration policy and climate change.

But today, as several states pursue laws that will limit or ban medical procedures for women and the transgender community, crack down on classroom discussion of “woke” topics like racism and sexuality, and enact new restrictions of voting rights, few banks or bank advocates have had anything to say.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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