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Next Steps for NYC's RBA

August 18, 2014

The fate of the New York City Responsible Banking Act (RBA) is now in the hands of the courts. Tomorrow – Tuesday August 19th – is an important step when the judge will hear oral arguments on the RBA, one of the strongest banking ordinances in the country.

Hearing is open to the public Tuesday, August 19, 2pm  in the Federal Courthouse at 40 Foley Square.

The fate of the New York City Responsible Banking Act (RBA) is now in the hands of the courts. Tomorrow – Tuesday August 19th – is an important step when the judge will hear oral arguments on the RBA, one of the strongest banking ordinances in the country.

In 2012, New York City Council both voted in, and then overrode a mayoral veto, to officially pass this historic law. Tens of billions of New York City’s dollars flow to and through banks that hold roughly $6 billion in deposits at any given time.  The RBA lets the city use the power of that money to hold banks accountable to better meet the needs of our local communities.

Over a year later, in October 2013, The New York Bankers Association filed a lawsuit challenging the RBA. The lawsuit claims that the city is trying to become a bank regulator and, as such, the law preempts federal and state Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) legislation.  These challenges are baseless and ANHD said as much in a joint amicus brief filed with South Brooklyn Legal Services, New Economy Project and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). While Mayor Bloomberg was adamantly opposed to the RBA, Mayor de Blasio supports the merits of this important law. He reversed the city’s position by also submitting an amicus brief in favor of the law.

ANHD will be present to witness this historic event.  The hearing is open to the public Tuesday, August 19th at 2pm in the Federal Courthouse at 40 Foley Square.

The RBA is a reasonable, commonsense tool to increase reinvestment activity and transparency among the banks that seek to do business with our city. And, unlike the federal and state CRA legislation, the New York City bill establishes regular, local public hearings that provide everyday New Yorkers a vehicle to engage in the process in a meaningful way by speaking to their local credit needs and how the banks are responding to these needs.

While the CRA has certainly leveraged money to support affordable housing and NYC’s community development, it has not fully kept up with the changing nature of banking.

A positive outcome will mean the mayor can promptly implement the Responsible Banking Act. 

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