Banks Response to Racism and COVID-19

Given the financial sector’s history of systemic exclusion and discrimination, the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) worked together to analyze banking relief that is currently being made available to consumers and borrowers, identify gaps and best practices, and outline recommendations for financial institutions and policymakers on how to dismantle systemic racism in banking and to reimagine relief and reforms that banks should embrace.

Lending Discrimination within PPP

Since March 2020, businesses in the U.S. have been struggling to continue operations in the face of a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a recession because of the widespread closures of non-essential businesses enacted to reduce the spread of the virus. Even as things begin to reopen, people are less likely to go out due to possible health risks. In response, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a lending program that provides money, in a potential grant format, to small businesses to help them weather the economic effects of the pandemic. The majority of the loan needs to be allocated for employee salaries and then the remainder can be used for other business expenses like rent and loan payments. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the disparities in small business lending we have detected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic continued with implementation of the PPP program.

Impact of PPP on Small Businesses

To determine the initial effectiveness of government relief efforts, Gusto analyzed data from nearly 27,000 of our small business customers who reported receiving PPP loans and compared it to platform data from our 100,000-plus small business customers nationwide[1]. The report below shows that PPP aid has helped to provide stabilization from the initial free fall in March ‘20, with strong increases in hiring and rehiring beginning in the second half of April ‘20.

A New Rating System for CRA

NCRC developed a new ratings system for quantitative measures on banks’ community development financing under CRA. Our suggested ratings could increase community development lending and investment between $15 billion to $28 billion annually.

Bank Lending and the Financial Crisis

This report provides an analysis of how lending changed overall and in rural vs. urban areas before, during, and after the financial crisis of 2008-2010. The analysis shows that rural firms have poorer access to bank credit than their urban counterparts in terms of both the amount and number of loans and that this situation has deteriorated, rather than improved during the post-crisis years of 2011-2016.

COVID-19 California Small Business Poll

The poll, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting for Small Business Majority, surveyed California small business owners between April 7 and 10, 2020. The survey sheds light on a shocking rate of business closures, as well as small business owners’ views on proposals that can help ensure they are able to reopen and recover once the crisis is over. 

CDFI Friendly America

CDFI Friendly America: A White Paper Introducing the CDFI Friendly Strategy for Smaller Cities and Towns By Mark A. Pinsky & Adina Abramowitz First posted March 2020 The purpose of this White Paper is to introduce a new way for America’s small cities and towns to attract flexible, affordable financing to address gaps in markets

Community Investment Fund Handbook

This handbook shines a spotlight on an emerging generation of practical, intelligent activists who are reinventing local financial systems. Even as they criticize capitalism, they are using – and mastering – its financial tools to solve local challenges. In the pages ahead you’ll find an emerging set of tools we call community investment funds. Our purpose and hope in preparing this guide is that you’ll consider creating one of these funds for your own community.

2017 Small Business Lending in the U.S.

U.S. banks play an integral role as credit suppliers to small businesses. Small businesses comprise of nearly all employer firms in the economy and employ 47.3 percent of the private sector workforce (SBA Advocacy, 2019). The existence and performance of these vibrant businesses depend on how banks and other financial intermediaries are responding to their credit needs. This report uses publicly available data on U.S. banks to analyze the patterns in small business lending.

CDFIs by The Numbers

The Richmond Fed’s recent report, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) by the Numbers, provides findings from the 2019 Federal Reserve CDFI Survey. CDFIs are specialized financial institutions operating in markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.