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The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

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Whose Money? Our Money! Responsible Banking Matters!

January 23, 2020

Community Advocates Tell the Trump Administration: Don’t Gut the Community Reinvestment Act

In the bitter cold outside the OCC’s local office at 340 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, several dozen protestors, community members, and elected officials began chanting, “What do we want? Responsible banking! When do we want it? Now!” ANHD members alongside public officials told the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the FDIC we do not accept their proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act – one of the key civil rights, anti-redlining laws we have to hold banks accountable to our communities.

ANHD’s Senior Campaign Analyst Jaime Weisberg rallied the crowd as they shouted, “Keep our money in our community - keep the community in the CRA!” U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez – who cited our 2018 State of Bank Reinvestment report during her testimony before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions earlier this month – said the Trump Administration’s proposal guts the CRA, "enabling banks to escape their investment responsibilities to low- and moderate-income communities."

U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney reiterated that the CRA is one of the most important anti-discrimination laws we have as it "prevents banks from redlining and excluding low-income and minority communities while putting an affirmative obligation on banks to lend to their communities."

U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks gave a passionate speech stating that the CRA is not for the wealthy and fighting this proposal from the OCC and the FDIC is essentially a fight for our civil rights. Meeks participated in our community tour of Jamaica, Queens last year with the OCC Comptroller Joseph Otting, and expressed his "deep disappointment that the agencies plowed ahead with an approach that was widely panned for being inconsistent with the original civil rights intent of CRA."

Community leaders told stories of what these proposed changes would mean for their communities – less financing for deeply affordable housing, increased discrimination in lending, speculation, gentrification, and displacement of Black and Brown communities. “We are deeply concerned about the proposed draconian CRA rule because of the long-lasting negative impact it will have in our communities,” said Yoselin Genao Estrella, Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC, Inc. We then marched to the FDIC chanting, “Whose money… our money!” through the streets of New York City.

Now, the OCC and FDIC are refusing to extend the timeframe for communities to voice their concerns about their proposal, which means we only have until March 9th to make our voices heard. Learn more about what these proposal changes will mean for YOUR community and how to submit comments.

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