Banks Response to Racism and COVID-19

cover page for this reportPre-Existing Conditions: Assessing the Financial Services Response to Racism, Inequality, and COVID-19

California Reinvestment Coalition, San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment

First published August 2020

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the health and economic security of millions of Americans, it is critically important to evaluate the relief efforts offered by financial institutions. And at this time, when our nation is confronted with the reality of its historic and systemic racism, it is crucial that we evaluate such relief efforts with a racial equity lens. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities are experiencing the most severe impacts from job losses and small business closures, and these same communities are most vulnerable to both illness and economic disruption. 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.

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