access to banking services

Leaders come together to find solutions to credit barriers

We gathered top leaders from financial institutions and community groups to discuss the scope of the problem and current approaches to improving access to credit. Our Senior Vice President Geoff Smith presented the findings of our credit score report and used the availability of refinance lending as an example of diminished access to credit in communities of color. The below chart demonstrates that in predominantly white communities, refinance lending doubled from 2008 to 2009; however, it dropped precipitously in communities of color.

Why we must expand CRA: When banks listen to the public, both sides win

Written by Suniya Farooqui, Tom Feltner and Katie Buitrago on October 5, 2010 - 3:31pm


The proposal, HR 6334, requires regulators to consider public comments in their ongoing community reinvestment evaluations.  The codification of the public's response and the repercussions of those responses increase the likelihood that the public’s needs are being met by financial institutions.

New legislation would strengthen all financial institutions’ investments in communities, help avert another financial crisis

“The Community Reinvestment Act has created jobs, supported responsible homeownership, and expanded opportunities for saving by investing trillions of dollars in low- and moderate-income communities,” said Rand. “Nonetheless, the rapidly-changing and complex financial landscape of today bears little resemblance to the world of 1977, when the original CRA was passed.

New report finds dramatic gap in credit scores between communities of color and predominantly white communities in Illinois

Statewide, 20.3 percent of people had credit scores below 620, a common boundary for consideration for prime credit. In contrast, 54.2 percent of the population in highly African-American neighborhoods had scores below 620 and only 16.5 percent of the population in predominantly white neighborhoods credit scores below 620.

Why we must modernize CRA: We can’t tell if all communities have access to basic banking services

Written by Tom Feltner and Katie Buitrago on August 27, 2010 - 10:17am

Bank branches play an important role in providing access to retail banking services, such as basic checking and savings accounts. Regulators measure how banks are doing in providing access to retail banking services on the CRA service test.

“Beyond Foreclosures” starts discussion on the wealth gap and how to address it

These are the kind of sobering statistics that experts presented to more than 100 representatives from community, research, financial, regulatory, and government groups at “Beyond Foreclosures: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Wealth Gap and Economic Opportunity.” Indeed, a staggering number of consumers lack sufficient access to banking services that would help them build wealth, do not have opportunities to build a positive credit history, and must resort to the costly and stigmatizing process of bankruptcy.


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