NDC Works with NCRC to Guide Bank’s Investment Strategy in CO
More often than not, small community organizations have not had a voice in influencing the decisions and actions of large financial institutions, decisions and actions that have direct impacts on our lives. Today, that is starting to change. More organizations are speaking out to ensure their communities get the resources they need and they are asking private institutions to do better. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is at the forefront of this effort and they are bringing more seats to the table for others to do the same.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) is an association of organizations from across the country working to promote social and racial equity by channeling funding into underserved communities. NCRC primarily engages in policy and advocacy on the federal level out of Washington D.C., but they are also actively engaged in facilitating and negotiating Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) with banks and financia
Community Benefit Agreements have proven to be an effective tool to enact positive improvements in banking practices. They provide a way for communities to hold banks accountable and negotiate for particular actions to be set forth in the agreement. For example, NCRC and local community groups can negotiate with banks to increase lending to small businesses owned by people of color, expand access to mortgage loans, or create innovative tools to combat displacement.
For KeyBank’s most recent Community Benefit Agreement, NCRC has facilitated community conversations in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Alaska. Earlier this month, NCRC extended an invitation to NDC, alongside other community service providers, to join the most recent conversation with KeyBank executives, providing the chance to comment on gaps in services and opportunities for improvement, particularly in underserved communities and communities of color.
NDC helped lay the foundation for the meeting with KeyBank, detailing Colorado’s history of discriminatory lending and bank siting practices, and the rippling effects these choices have had on the still widening wealth gap and housing choice availability. NDC also highlighted the positive outcomes that are associated with access to affordable housing, including reductions in arrests and hospital stays.
After the context was set, NDC representatives were given time to present feedback to KeyBank including the following recommendations.
- Move towards a more innovative approach to community reinvestments and ensure that all bank activities are creating positive outcomes, exceeding what is required by federal legislation.
- While KeyBank has become an effective Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) lender, alternative and innovative funds should be offered, such as a Transit Oriented Development Revolving Loan Fund to address housing and transportation needs holistically, a Social Impact Bond to reduce reliance on other community facilities such as hospitals and jails, and a Loan Loss Reserve Fund to increase risk tolerance for multi- and single family investments.
- Create flexibility for fiscally responsible sponsors to leverage reserves to cover losses incurred by COVID-19.
- Incentivize investment in wrap-around services to stabilize low-income residents and improve economic mobility outcomes.
- Homeownership is crucial to establishing and increasing generational wealth. KeyBank should create mortgage products held in portfolio, that can be used with Community Land Trusts; allow for credit calculating alternatives.
- Offer programs and grant based gap funding specifically dedicated to increase the development and supply of affordable homeownership in perpetuity.
- Ensure that loan funds are swiftly deployed.
- Increase support for financial services, housing counseling and education programs, and down payment assistance, which is currently underutilized due to out of reach home prices.
- Create grant opportunities and utilize philanthropic strategies that coordinate with broader investment strategies at KeyBank.
NCRC has asked NDC to continue participation in future CBA discussion meetings with other banks moving forward, allowing for continued advocacy for advancing racial and social equity in bank practices and community investment.
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