WAMU: After accusations of lending discrimination, JPMorgan Chase announces major D.C. expansion

WAMU, April 19, 2018: After accusations of lending discrimination, JPMorgan Chase announces major D.C. expansion

It was only three years ago JPMorgan Chase announced it was closing 300 retail branches nationwide. But the country’s largest bank announced on Thursday it’s opening up to 70 physical locations in the D.C. region, with plans to employ as many as 700 local residents.

“The law imposes an affirmative obligation for banks to do positive things in the community,” says Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “The theory is if you take deposits from the community, you need to be reinvesting in the community.”

Van Tol says JPMorgan Chase’s foray into the Washington region could be a boon for people who live in banking deserts. A fifth of the bank’s D.C.-area branches will open in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, according to a press release. Chase has also signaled a commitment to supporting the local economy, allocating $4 billion over five years for small-business and home lending in the area, and another $500,000 to affordable rental housing maintenance and construction.

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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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