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Bank branches are still essential for small business communities

Bank branches matter. Countering the overwhelming messaging from many banks and even some regulators, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) has published several reports over the years that detail how much branches still matter for consumers and communities, even in 2019. Just look at the number of branches that banks opened in the last year, and it is clear that they also know the value of a physical outpost in the community they want to serve.

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Small business lending data is the iceberg in our economic ocean

In September 2018, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released the results of a survey of 1,200 banks on small business lending in America. It found that small business lending is threatened by the decline of smaller banks and the reduction of bank branches in many communities. But just as revealing was what the survey didn’t find. More information that would be essential for policy and regulatory decisions remains concealed, invisible to the public.

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The CFPB needs to keep easy access to HMDA data

Data is the sunlight that makes possible the fight against discrimination. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), however, is considering changing its method of disseminating loan data that would make it less readily available to the public and significantly hamper our collective ability to root out unfair and discriminatory practices.

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By 2021, big changes for interest rates could spell trouble for borrowers

By 2021, the most popular and widely-used interest-rate benchmark, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), will no longer exist as a benchmark for the $2 trillion in outstanding loans in the United States. In its place will most likely be the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which is broadly considered to be more robust and realistic than LIBOR. Nearly every borrower in the country that is paying off debt that is set based on the LIBOR will be affected by this change.

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Increasing community development financing data a necessary component for CRA reform

Data on community development lending and investing is lacking on a census tract level, making the information incomplete and difficult to assess. However, this is not the case for home mortgage lending data and small business loan data. If the federal regulatory agencies truly want to reform CRA, the first place to start is with better data. It would be a win-win for both banks and community organizations by facilitating identification of underserved areas. It would also further CRA’s objectives of directing access to credit and capital where it is needed most.

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Book review: The Color of Money

As explanations of the racial wealth gap and the persisting structural inequality of the U.S. economy, Dr. Mehrsa Baradaran’s 2017 book, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, is the ideal shelf-mate to Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, published the same […]

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Robust data on home lending essential to fair and equitable treatment of borrowers

In order for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect millions of consumers from unsound lending, the agency must implement the public disclosure of the enhanced Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data in a rigorous manner that provides comprehensive and public information about loan terms and conditions. NCRC has a mantra about the importance […]

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Audio: What is going on with the Community Reinvestment Act?

Listen to this discussion hosted by NCRC’s Senior Civil Rights Investigator Rose Ramirez, featuring Community Reinvestment Act Manager Kevin Hill and Senior Community Reinvestment Act Advisor Josh Silver on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding CRA and what it means to communities throughout the country.

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Long live CRA!

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a law that was supposed to end discrimination that was once common in America’s housing and banking markets. Although not as widely known as other iconic releases of 1977 including the very first Star Wars movie, Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours, or the Apple II […]

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Warren housing bill presents a clear choice on CRA

As concerned citizens and practitioners in the affordable housing and community development fields, we now have a clear choice regarding the direction of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (under the leadership of Comptroller Joseph Otting) have each offered contrasting visions for the […]

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Charting the future course of Age-Friendly Banking

Living Longer: We Need Age-Friendly Banking Like most institutions, the American banking system must evolve to meet current needs.  Although we all age, and although people on average are living longer and healthier lives, our society has yet to adjust for this substantial demographic shift.  Age-Friendly Banking is a set of recommendations that NCRC has […]

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#TreasureCRA: a summer recap

While the wheels of government slowed down for summer vacations, NCRC was busy organizing for what we anticipate will be a major battle over the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The 1977 law requires banks meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-income communities.  This summer, NCRC and our members met with the leaders of all […]

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An old American struggle, always new

My daughter will be attending college near Charlotte, North Carolina, in the fall. As part of her orientation, the college asks all incoming freshmen to read a common book. This year, the book was Color and Character by North Carolina historian Pamela Grundy, a story about the struggle for integration and educational equity in Charlotte, North […]

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Advocacy for social change: Coalitions and the organizations that lead them

Herbert J. Rubin’s new book, Advocacy for Social Change, is an important primer for those who seek to promote social change through national organizations. Many books discuss the corrosive effect of money in politics and lobbying organizations, but few are devoted to how those representing the have-nots organize on a national level to fight for laws […]

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