Next City: Three U.S. Banks Make $20 Billion Community Reinvestment Promise

Next City, November 15th, 2017: Three U.S. Banks Make $20 Billion Community Reinvestment Promise

“The negotiations were enabled by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the 1977 law that says banks have a “continuing and affirmative obligation to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered.” While the law does not require banks to enter into agreements with local organizations, the law does give regulators authority to take such agreements into account as part of meeting that obligation, when considering a bank’s application to open a new branch or to acquire or merge with another bank.

The agreements continue momentum from 2016, a landmark year in which the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and its members negotiated $62.6 billion in community reinvestment agreements with banks. NCRC also facilitated all three of the agreements announced in the past month.

‘In this agreement, our communities will realize reinvestment where there has been disinvestment for decades,’ Josephine Rogers-Smith at Indianapolis’ Martindale-Brightwood CDC said in a statement. ‘We should see growth in small business lending, affordable housing, home ownership, and economic and community development’.”

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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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