UEDC/ CRA Proposal

This is a summary of complaints by UAAD pertaining to JPMorganChase Bank

10/15/2005

HOW BLACKS and OTHER MINORITIES CAN REACH ECONOMIC PARITY UTILIZING CRA
My first knowledge of the COMMUNITY RE-INVESTMENT ACT of 1977 CRA, occurred in 1982. During that period Church Leaders and Community Leaders began a protest regarding the discriminatory practices of banks in Atlanta Georgia. An effort was made for African Americans to withdraw funds from the predominantly White Banks, and deposit in Black owned banks. The Churches along with Community Organizations began asking all African Americans to deposit their monies in Black owned banks.
Realizing the effect this move would cause the White owned banks, a proposal was presented to these Community Leaders, now making them aware of the CRA and its purpose and benefits to the Minority Community. This protest ended when the Bankers promised and began to make low interest loans to the low, moderate income, and began a process to include African Americans. Banks up to this period was fulfilling their CRA obligations according to the Act by making loans to White females, the Girl Scouts and other individuals and organizations who were predominantly White. Once the Atlanta protest was squashed by the Bankers in Atlanta and few Community Organizations knowing or realizing the protections afforded minorities under the CRA Act, Bankers went back to business as usual. Later in the early nineties a few Community Organizations entered into agreements with banks, some with little, most with no success. Most agreements entered into did not address the needs of African Americans and other minorities, who are most in need of this legislation and its intent. One example was an agreement Bank of America entered into with a group in the Bay area of California, where approximately 5 billion dollars was committed to several community projects in the city of San Francisco, California. Oakland the most poverty ridden city in California, received no committed funds.

As stated by Hugh B. Price then President of the National Urban League, “most people who live outside of Washington DC have probably never heard of the Community Reinvestment Act. Yet though unsung, the CRA is one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation Congress has ever passed. He went on to say “Congress passed the Community reinvestment Act in 1977 in response to clear evidence of the noxious effects of “redlining” – the systematic refusal of lenders to provide loans to businesses, homeowners and prospective home buyers in particular neighborhoods, especially those which were predominantly Black or Hispanic.”



This article appeared in USA Today; this is an edited version
"Banking while Black " hurts homeowners
African-Americans and Hispanic consumers face a double whammy. First, they are less likely than whites to own their homes. According to the Survey of Consumer Finance, 47% of African-Americans and Hispanics are homeowners, compared with 74% of whites. But even when African-Americans and Hispanics own their homes, they face lending discrimination when they refinance.
This week, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) released a report on credit discrimination with troubling findings. Consumers living in areas with more minority residents are more likely to have mortgages with interest rates higher than "prevailing and competitive" rates. Some get these sub-prime because they have poor credit. But far too frequently, the problem is lending discrimination. Often, African-Americans, Hispanics and in some cases, elderly buyers who qualify for market-rate loans are steered to high-cost loans. This is especially true when they live in heavily black or elderly areas.
In response to racial profiling on highways, some activists coined the term "driving while black". NCRC president John Taylor does them one better when he notes that "banking while black or elderly means that most are most likely to get gouged by high interest rates and fees." NCRC says the broken credit system can be fixed if the Federal Reserve Bank increases its oversight on anti-discrimination and fair lending laws, and if existing laws are better enforced. Because incomes were fairly stagnant in 2002, much of Americans' consumer spending has been financed by credit cards and home-equity credit. Too many African-Americans and seniors who are helping to keep the economy afloat are paying extraordinarily high fees to do so. That 's a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking, an injustice that needs to be rectified.
Commentary by Julianne Malveaux

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