Project REACh Pledge Released to Promote Vitality of Minority Depository Institutions
December 03, 2020 / Source: OCC
News Release 2020-166
WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today announced the release of the Project REACh Minority Depository Institution (MDI) Pledge.
In doing so, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks encouraged all large and midsize banks to consider the pledge to develop meaningful partnerships with MDIs to help them remain a vibrant part of the economic landscape and better promote fair, equal, and full access to financial products and services in their communities.
“MDIs are critical pieces of their communities and enjoy trust and relevance other institutions do not,” Acting Comptroller Brooks said. “Their unique status makes them well-suited to help improve financial services for minority and underserved communities and create meaningful economic opportunities. Unfortunately, MDIs also face significant obstacles of their own. The Project REACh MDI Pledge draws attention to these issues and affirms the commitment by larger banks to support the health and function of these institutions.”
In announcing the pledge, bank members of Project REACh are the first to sign on, including Citibank, Flagstar, Huntington, Texas Capital, and Wells Fargo.
By making the pledge, a bank commits to
- investing in an MDI,
- providing technical assistance,
- identifying business opportunities targeted to expand the MDI's reach and impact within its communities,
- supporting executive development, and
- committing resources to support the MDI's operations and customers.
“We applaud the OCC for not only recognizing the important role that MDIs play in creating economic opportunities for individuals and small businesses located within low-to-moderate income communities,” Chief Executive Officer of Broadway Financial Corporation Wayne Bradshaw commented, “but also for creating Project REACh to help MDIs obtain the vital equity capital and other resources that they need to fulfill their potential. Each dollar of additional equity capital creates a multiplier effect of seven to 10 times that amount, which in turn leads to greater job opportunities and income within underserved communities.”
“Citi strongly believes that financial institutions of all sizes are needed to serve a broad spectrum of customers and client needs. By partnering with MDIs, we can combine scale with local market expertise, community knowledge and long-established relationships to serve communities of color in a more effective way than banks of either size could do on our own,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi, and Project REACh Founding Member and Co-Chair of the MDI working group. “Through this pledge and existing commitments such as our $1 billion Action for Racial Equity initiatives, we're focused on MDIs' growth and revenue generation, helping to close the racial wealth gap and increasing economic mobility in the United States.”
“Flagstar welcomes the opportunity to support Project REACh and enthusiastically agrees to adopt the pledge to strengthen MDIs,” said Alessandro DiNello, President and CEO of Flagstar Bank. “We have been and will continue to be a strong supporter of MDIs, and we commend the OCC on taking a leadership position. This support will be instrumental to the promotion of fair, equal, and inclusive access to financial products and services.”
“We embrace the Project REACh MDI Pledge because it reflects banks' shared commitment to providing full access to banking and economic opportunity to those who need it most,” said Steve Steinour, Huntington's Chairman, President, and CEO. “Our communities are uplifted and our industry is made stronger through our support of MDIs and the partnerships that enable us to leverage our expertise, capabilities and scale for the benefit of these important banks and their customers.”
“Supporting the prosperity of communities is the core of our mission at Texas Capital Bank, and we are proud to be a founding partner of Project REACh,” said Larry L. Helm, Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc., and Texas Capital Bank. “By helping to increase capacity for our MDI partners, this project will have long-reaching effects in underserved communities nationwide, and we look forward to seeing the results in expanded small businesses, homeownership, and more.”
“MDIs have a vital role in the U.S. financial ecosystem by providing ready access to capital and credit in minority and underserved communities, supporting neighborhood revitalization and driving economic opportunity,” said Kleber Santos, Head of Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion at Wells Fargo. “We are proud to build on our recent commitment of up to $50 million to African American MDIs by signing the Project REACh MDI Pledge and contributing capital, connections, and expertise to help them grow so the communities they serve will prosper.”