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NCRC Applauds Midland States Bank’s $16.6 Million Commitment to Low- and Moderate-Income Communities and Communities of Color

Washington, DC – Today, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) applauded a $16.6 million commitment from Midland States Bank of Effingham, Illinois to low- and moderate-income and minority communities in its footprint. In a conciliation agreement with the St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council brokered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Midland States Bank pledged $1.6 million in subsidies, marketing, education, and training for communities and $15 million in real estate loans to predominately minority communities in St. Louis and parts of Illinois. In addition, the bank committed to opening branches and a loan production office in minority neighborhoods in St. Louis and Joliet, Illinois.

NCRC, and two NCRC member organizations, the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA), and the Woodstock Institute, challenged Midland States Bank’s application to acquire Heartland Bank on the grounds of the bank’s low levels of lending to minority borrowers and its lack of branches in low- and moderate-income and minority neighborhoods. The St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, the convener of SLEHCRA, filed a fair housing complaint with HUD the based on the concerns cited in the merger challenges. The commitment from Midland States Bank is a result of the efforts of the community groups.

“This agreement is a meaningful step in Midland States Bank’s ability to meet its obligation to low- and moderate-income and minority communities,” said NCRC’s President and CEO John Taylor. “The commitment made by Midland States provides a framework for the bank to address the concerns raised by NCRC, SLEHCRA, and the Woodstock Institute. We look forward to working with Midland States and our members to ensure that the needs of low- and moderate-income and minority communities are substantially met by the bank’s services, products, and programs.”

Key components of the three-year, $16.6 million commitment include:

–       Three new branch locations or loan production offices to be opened in predominately minority communities in St. Louis and Joliet following the merger with Heartland Bank.
–       Nearly $1 million in direct assistance to borrowers in minority communities for home purchase or home repair loans.
–       A commitment to $15 million in lending for home purchase, refinance, home repair, or multifamily loans in minority communities.
–       Substantial commitments to affirmative marketing in African American and Hispanic communities, financial education in minority communities, and community reinvestment training.
–       Creation of a Corporate Community Development Plan with the consultation of NCRC, SLEHCRA, and the Woodstock Institute to guide long-term Community Reinvestment Act and community development practices throughout the areas served by Midland States.

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America’s working families.

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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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