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The Baltimore Banner: For Decades, African American Communities Have Been Without Enough Local Banking Storefronts

The Baltimore Banner, August 30, 2022, For Decades, African American Communities Have Been Without Enough Local Banking Storefronts

While Northwood and Mondawmin get new banking opportunities, a general decline in the use of storefront banks has exacerbated the problem with most banking deserts. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that two-thirds of banking institutions in the U.S. have disappeared since the 1980s, dropping from nearly 18,000 in 1984 to fewer than 5,000 in 2021. According to the NCRC, Baltimore was among the top 50 metro areas with the most bank branches in 2017. By 2021, it lost at least 96.

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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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