News Release 2021-30 | March 9, 2021
WASHINGTON—Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson issued the following statement supporting minority-owned banks and thrifts and the Emergency Capital Investment Program.
Minority banks and thrifts play special roles in their communities as trusted providers of credit, capital, and services. They are frequently the economic heartbeat for underserved populations.
Too often these institutions face challenges not of their own making that result in unique obstacles that make capital scarce and operations sometimes more difficult. At the same time, minority banks and thrifts have tremendous strength and exclusive opportunities to do good in traditionally disadvantaged communities.
Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program helps make capital more available for Community Development Financial Institutions and minority banks. That’s a step in the right direction. Making clear that these funds qualify as regulatory capital helps make the most of the program so institutions can maximize its benefits.
The OCC and participants in Project REACh also recognize that as an industry we can do more to promote the vitality of these institutions and, in turn, the communities they serve. That is why we developed the “Pledge to Strengthen Minority Depository Institutions.” The pledge helps minority banks remain vibrant parts of the economic landscape through larger banks’ commitments to additional investment, technical assistance, executive development, and business partnerships. Twenty-one banks have already taken the pledge, and we are eager to see others join.
As a career examiner who spent most of his time focused on community banks, I recognize that the word community is fundamental to what banks are. But, a community is also what the banking industry is, and I am encouraged to see the energy and resolve the banking community is committing to provide everyone fair access to financial services and fair treatment from the banks and thrifts working to create economic opportunity.