Urban Affairs Forum: Urban gathering addresses bottom-up politics

Urban Affairs Forum, May 21, 2018: Urban gathering addresses bottom-up politics

 

National Community Reinvestment Coalition

The NCRC provided further evidence that problem-solving action occurs from the bottom -up with non-profit community organizations and the private sector taking the lead. NCRC is a national membership-based organization, established in 1990, that advocates for fair access to credit and banking services in order to build prosperous, sustainable communities in urban and rural communities throughout the nation.  Currently there are 600 members including community development corporations, civil rights groups, faith based institutions, local and state agencies, minority and women-owned business associations, and local social service organizations. NCRC and its member organizations do utilize key federal government tools.  These include the 1975 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which provides public information on where mortgage lending does (and does not) take place in neighborhoods across the country, and the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which prohibits redlining by requiring federally chartered depository institutions to affirmatively ascertain and be responsive to the credit needs of their entire service areas, including low- and moderate-income communities. These diverse groups have conducted a range of local and national studies (often with the assistance of scholars associated with academic and other research organizations) that have brought local savings associations and global financial institutions to the bargaining table, generating over $4 trillion in credit to traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

At the conference, Jesse Van Toll described some of the recent community benefits agreements that NCRC and its members have negotiated since 2016.   Below are just some of the highlights:

  • KeyBank:  $16.5 billion for home lending, small business lending, and community development lending and investments in low-and moderate-income (LMI) communities along with a commitment to stop financing payday lenders;
  • Huntington Bank:  $16.1 billion for home, small business, and community development lending and investments in LMI communities, opening 10 new branch offices and addition of mortgage loan officers to serve these neighborhoods;
  • Fifth Third Agreement: $30 billion for home, small business, and community development lending and investments in LMI communities, opening 10 new branch offices and hiring CRA small business loan officers in Chicago, Cincinnati/Dayton, Cleveland, Detroit, Columbus Louisville, Tampa and Indianapolis.

NCRC and its members have an agenda.  But they are also very pragmatic in their effective approach to solving critical problems in local communities.  While federal tools have played an important role, it is the local organizing and partnership activity that has succeeded at a time when key federal agencies (e.g. HUD, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) have been gridlocked or taken significant steps backward.

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