How NCRC’s Pro Bono Data Analysis Service Can Empower Your Organization
An NCRC motto is “Data drives the movement for economic justice.” Analysis of publicly available data is necessary in order to determine if a particular bank(s) is engaged in a pattern and practice of abusive or discriminatory lending or if the bank(s) is lending in a fair and responsible manner. For years, NCRC has engaged in pro bono data analysis for its member organizations as a means for empowering them to advocate for more responsible lending in their community. What is different in recent years is that NCRC has committed more community organizing resources to promote sustained use of data analysis and to follow-up with our members to determine if the data analysis was successful in their advocacy campaigns.
On an annual basis, NCRC will provide 30 to 50 pro bono data analyses to our member organizations from across the country. In the last few weeks, NCRC has provided data analysis to two southern-based organizations, the Birmingham Business Resource Center and the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation, that reveals racial disparities in lending and uncovers particularly problematic lending patterns at one regional bank, Iberia Bank. As the accompanying map powerfully illustrates in the Birmingham, Alabama metropolitan area, Iberia did not issue a single home loan in a predominantly minority census tract (more than 50 percent of the residents are minority).
Some may say that the bank’s small lending volume (69 loans) in Birmingham may make judgments about fair lending performance inconclusive. However, the performance in the New Orleans metropolitan area, where Iberia issued 788 loans during 2011 (the most recent year available) confirms that its racial disparities in lending need to be further investigated. In New Orleans, minority census tracts contain 29 percent of owner-occupied housing units, yet Iberia issued just 11 percent of its home loans in these tracts. Iberia also issued a lower percentage than its peers; all lenders, as a group, made 15 percent of their loans in these tracts. The map and bar graph again illustrates the paucity of lending in minority neighborhoods.
Since two key NCRC members are interested in the performance of Iberia, opportunities for community organizing across state lines on a regional basis exist. Our two member organizations can discuss strategies which could range from sending comment letters to the banks’ Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) public file (even when a CRA exam is not occurring), commenting on a merger application if the bank seeks to acquire another bank or be acquired, to seeking a meeting with senior officials at the bank. NCRC regional organizers can help these two members assemble coalitions of concerned organizations in at least two states, which will form a more powerful constituency for influencing the banks’ behavior than groups acting alone.
NCRC’s data analysis can also be used to promote public policies, in particular local responsible banking ordinances. Under a local responsible banking law, a city will evaluate banks’ reinvestment and fair lending performance as part of its decision in which banks to place deposits. NCRC has a model local responsible banking ordinance that can assist NCRC members and allies in advocating for ordinances in their locality.
In the coming weeks, NCRC will be helping Jewish Community Action in Minneapolis to advocate for a local ordinance by assessing unmet needs. Specifically, NCRC will be analyzing disparities in how many deposits major banks receive from inner city neighborhoods and how many loans they make in these neighborhoods. In addition, NCRC will be helping the San Diego City and County Reinvestment Task Force provide information to the City in implementing its newly passed ordinance. NCRC will be analyzing the CRA and fair lending performance of major banks. Our member organization will present the results of this analysis to the City as decides which institutions will receive its deposits.
NCRC invites our member organizations to consider how they can increase responsible lending and investing in their communities. When members want to consider a plan or campaign for increasing responsible lending, NCRC’s Membership and Research Departments will work with them to devise a campaign and craft the most effective data analysis. There is power in the numbers!
For more information contact, Josh Silver, Vice President of Research and Policy, at 202-464-2708, or the NCRC regional organizer for your area.
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|WI, MI, IL, IN, OH, WV, KY
|FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, TN, MS, AL, LA, AR