WASHINGTON — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say more needs to be done to make sure minority communities are getting the financial help they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee met Thursday to question financial regulation officials about how they’re serving people of color.
A report by the committee says banks generally lack diversity within their senior ranks and their corporate boards, so there are concerns about that impacting the approval of loans and financial options offered to minority communities.
“The surprise of the COVID event is gone, replaced by a clear review of its economic consequences,” said Randal Quarles of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors.
Among the hardest hit are communities of color.
The office of the comptroller of the currency- known as the OCC- says it started what’s called “Project Reach” over the summer, a program meant to increase engagement with minority communities.
The agency says it was created after widespread protests broke out after the killing of George Floyd.
“The project is working to eliminate obstacles to credit for 45 million people with no useable credit score, to expand affordable housing for those who can not afford high down-payment requirements, and to reinvigorate minority banks that serve often neglected communities,” Brian Brooks of the OCC explains.
Financial regulators say another goal has been working more with minority-owned banks.
The House committee notes that the number of minority-owned banks has dropped by a third over the last decade.
The Democratic-led Financial Services Committee is now pushing for Congress to require banks to disclose their diversity data publicly.
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