Fifth Third Commits Additional $2 Billion to Benefit Underserved Chicago Communities

Woodstock Institute Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 30, 2018

PRESS CONTACTS: Jenna Severson (312)368-0310 (jseverson@woodstockinst.org)

CHICAGO, IL – Fifth Third Bankcorp announced yesterday  an increased $2 billion dollars to benefit the Chicago community in conjunction with its merger with MB Financial, Inc. The additional commitment is the product of meetings this summer between Fifth Third, MB Financial, community groups, and advocates, including Woodstock Institute. This commitment adds to the landmark $30 billion dollar five-year community benefits agreement Woodstock Institute helped to negotiate with Fifth Third and other members of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in 2016. The $2 billion increase is set to be invested in the greater Chicago area, which increases the bank’s Chicago commitment from $3.6 to $5.6 billion.

This $2 billion commitment, according to Fifth Third, will support:

  • $200 million more in mortgage credit access in the Chicago area.
  • $1.1 billion more in small business lending loans and investments in the Chicago area.
  • $600 million more in community development loans in the Chicago area.
  • $65 million more in Fifth Third Community Development Corporation (CDC) investments in the Chicago area.
  • $54.8 million more in additional facility investments, service and marketing in the Chicago area. These investments include housing- and small business-related support, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) donations, and investments that support diverse hiring, supplier programs, retail accessibility enhancements and Fifth Third’s L.I.F.E. (Lives Improved through Financial Empowerment®) programs.

“At a time when policymakers are rolling back economic safeguards that were designed to protect financially vulnerable consumers and historically disinvested communities, we applaud Fifth Third for its commitment to bring increased and improved lending, investments, and services in underserved low- and moderate-income areas,” said Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute.

Yesterday’s achievements come at a moment when the future of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is in question. The CRA seek to address the disparities that exist in the financial system by requiring banks to adequately serve low- and moderate-income people and communities.  One of the nation’s banking regulators, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), is taking aim at the CRA. The OCC, led by Trump appointee Joseph Otting, former President and CEO of OneWest Bank, a mortgage company best known for foreclosing on tens of thousands of homeowners, published in August an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) with the intent to “modernize” the CRA. Civil rights and consumer advocates worry that the OCC’s proposed changes to the CRA will dilute the law’s effectiveness.

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