New Economic Justice Coalition Looks to Redefine Banking and Reinvestment For Baltimore’s Black and Latino Communities

March 23 – From the National Minority Community Re-Investment Cooperative

As the Biden Administration settles in with changing the course of the country to a place of unity and justice, a newly formed group composed of community leaders and housing development activists have come together to take the Administration up on this promise by creating a coalition that addresses long standing financial and investment issues of both Black and Latino communities, in the spirit of economic justice.

This newly formed coalition, called Community Reinvestment Act for Blacks and Latinos of Baltimore (CRA Baltimore) is looking to make the economic promises made by the new Administration a reality by redefining its relationships with the city’s 11 major banks. CRA Baltimore has found that due to various divestment policies from redlining to inequitable lending practices, Black and Latino communities have been getting the short end of the financial stick leaving their interests unaddressed and voices unheard.

According to Jules Howie, CRA Baltimore Co-Chair, “For decades Black and Brown communities have been marginalized and denied access to vital capital resources. Disinvestment in black and brown communities will no longer be tolerated, CRA Baltimore was established to be a voice for the voiceless and a grassroots accountability watchdog for the local banking community.”

Along with being a voice for the voiceless, CRA Baltimore will be hosting a Virtual Community Town Hall on Wednesday, April 14th from 12pm-1pm to educate Black & Latino home and business owners and residents about their demands on banks to provide greater investment into often forgotten neighborhoods. These demands are based on 4 pillars: 

The $30 Billion (over 5 years) CRA commitment will focus on 4 CRA Pillars:

  • Measuring Access to Capital for Black/Latino small businesses
  • Measuring Access to Capital for Black/Latino families to increase home ownership.
  • Measuring Access to Capital for Black/Latino Led and Focused Affordable Housing Developers to increase affordable rental and for-sale housing.
  • Measuring Grants/Equity investments into Black/Latino Led-Focused nonprofits to build capacity to deliver increased community products/services.

Their demands are rooted in the banking equity policy of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. The policy calls for financial institutions to meet the credit needs of the customers where they do business. This includes setting aside funds for greater investment for black and Latinos to help build small businesses, provide affordable housing and other resources to provide sustainability. CRA Baltimore is working to modernize this promise and the commitment.

CRA Baltimore is looking to make this promise a reality by holding banks accountable. “I applaud these Black & Latino leaders for launching their CRA council to bring increased economic inclusion by banks for Blacks & Latinos in Baltimore region that will result in increased access to capital for our communities’ businesses and increased home ownership” says Al Pina, Co-Founder of National Minority Community Reinvestment Co-Operative. 

For Wanda Best, CRA Baltimore, Co-Chair and her partners, CRA Baltimore represents a sign of a new day in banking and justice. “We often talk about having control of our destiny, well for us our destiny is tied to our economics. We can’t thrive the way we should or be able to make the progress we need to make until we get the investment we deserve.”

You are invited to the CRA Baltimore Town Hall:

The CRA Baltimore Town Hall will explain the CRA Baltimore concept and encourage community involvement in work groups that address Black and Latino economic issues. The CRA movement is about fostering Black and Latino economic inclusion with Baltimore banks. Join this session to learn how you can be engaged in this vitally important economic development work.

When: Apr 14, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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[…] through the newly extended deadline of May 31. Additionally, Ms. Bruce recently spoke in favor of CRA Baltimore’s call for banks to increase access to capital for community businesses and increased home […]