Ensuring Fairness and Accountability in our Financial Systems
Economic mobility and security depend on equitable access to financial services and the ability to build intergenerational wealth for ourselves and our families.
But the legacy of redlining is pervasive. Throughout the 20th century, bank and real estate discrimination, along with exclusionary efforts by white homeowners, forced communities of color into high-density industrial regions along railroads, manufacturing plants, and freeways. On top of poor air quality, climate consequences, and deadly health impacts, this intentional segregation excluded communities of color from building wealth, experiencing economic mobility, and ultimately leading thriving lives.
This discrimination was not limited to the private sector. Every major city and level of government in the United States actively denied communities of color access to loans and services based on race: redlining. The legacy of bank and government-led disinvestment continues to fuel the racial wealth divide and leave communities of color particularly vulnerable to climate impacts.
Holding the Financial Industry Accountable
The financial industry plays a central role in the U.S. Economy, and must be held accountable and responsible to all communities – especially communities of color that were historically shut out of access to financial services and asset-building resources.
The Greenlining Institute works to hold financial institutions accountable to meet their responsibility to communities of color.
Demanding Transparency and Fairness
To create a just, transparent economic system, we engage local, state, and federal regulators and private institutions to hold these entities – both public and private – accountable for past and ongoing harms that exacerbate racial economic inequities.
Our work includes:
- Community Reinvestment:
The Community Reinvestment Act requires large financial institutions to show that their lending, investments, and services adequately serve the communities in which they have market presence. Greenlining has used this federal law to negotiate billions of dollars in Community Benefits Agreements for communities of color and neighborhoods historically left out of investments through the mergers and acquisitions process. Every year, Greenlining brings the needs of our communities directly to top financial leaders by meeting with executives of major banks to secure and hold them accountable to investment commitments.
- Transparency and Accountability:
We independently research and monitor financial industry actions and publish our findings. For example, our annual Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) analysis tracks trends in mortgage lending to communities of color. We also monitor and report on Small Business Administration lending to minority-owned small businesses.
- Regulatory Reform:
We are working to expand regulations through the CRA and other federal and state laws to ensure the lending and financial activities of these institutions are fair, transparent, and race-conscious. We want to ensure that financial regulations remain relevant as new markets, technologies, and services like fintechs emerge and evolve.