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Bloomberg Ignores NYC's Banking Law

May 14, 2013

1 Year Later: No Advisory Board, No Community Input:   

Nearly a year has passed since the Responsible Banking Act was passed and Mayor Bloomberg has yet to take the necessary steps, as outlined in the law, to implement it.  This bill passed, thanks to years of strong, grassroots community organizing and a City Council that stood up for justice and overrode a mayoral veto.  Yet, due to the Mayor's inaction, the bill remains stalled as he has refused to fully constitute the Community Investment Advisory Board (CIAB) that is central to the bill's operation.  This board, comprised of government, community, and business representatives, was designed to provide a structural means for the whole community to help the city to understand their local credit needs and evaluate how NYC banks are meeting those needs. The bill requires that the NYC Banking Commission, which is comprised of the Mayor, Comptroller, and Finance Commissioner, take this information into account when choosing banks designated to hold city deposits.  On Monday, May 13th, however, it was mostly business as usual at the commission, which only underscores the need for the RBA to be implemented without delay.  In a half-hour meeting, to a public audience of ONE (possibly because the Commission's website forgot to mention a time or location), and with no opportunity for the public to speak anyway, the commission voted 2-1 to approve 25 banks as eligible to hold city deposits for the next two years. Comptroller John Liu was the lone dissenting voice on the commission, calling out the Bloomberg administration for their blatant disregard for the bill that is now law:     "The Mayor has refused to follow local law, which requires the City to examine whether the banks it designates as depositories are reinvesting in underserved communities," Comptroller Liu said. "Because the Mayor has undermined the Responsible Banking Act by failing to appoint members to a Community Investment Advisory Board, we have no method for determining that compliance, and so we cannot approve any banks to serve as depositories for City funds today."  http://comptroller.nyc.gov/press/2013_releases/pr13-05-072.shtm Sadly, no one even commented and the vote moved forward.   As the banking industry has consolidated and grown, it has become increasingly harder to hold them accountable to the local needs of our communities.  Banks benefit greatly from doing business with NYC, some handling billions in deposits throughout the course of a year.  The RBA is a necessary tool to increase reinvestment activity and transparency among the banks that seek to do business with our city. ANHD urges Mayor Bloomberg and the city council to fully implement the RBA without delay.  He must put the pieces in place to meaningfully engage both the banks and the public in assessing how banks are working to adequately and responsibly meet the credit needs of all New Yorkers.  Banks that are not meeting their obligation do not deserve to get city business.  New Yorkers deserve no less.

May 17 is the deadline to submit your CRA comments - 

click here for details

Blogger - Jaime Weisberg

ANHD blog team:  Benjamin Dulchin, Moses Gates, Ericka Stallings, Jaime Weisberg, Barika Williams. Anne Troy, editor.

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