Ministers and housing activists called Monday for Atlanta banks to do more to reverse financial discrimination against racial minorities and working-class citizens.
The group said the $65 million in low-interest loans offered by nine lenders was an insufficient response to existing inequities in bank lending.
"The $65 million does not begin to address the needs, and does not begin to address the historical inequities and the pain and the neglect and the deprivation," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). "We should ensure that fairness is an ongoing, permanent practice, and not just a temporary response to a crisis."
Calling themselves the Community Task Force for Economic Justice, the groups included SCLC, the South Atlanta Land Trust (SALT), Concerned Black Clergy, Georgia Housing Coalition, Atlanta Baptist Ministers Union, Pittsburgh Community Land Trust, Chosewood Park Home Development, and the neighborhoods of Vine City, Summer Hill, Cabbagetown, Mechanicsville, Adair Park and Peoplestown.
The group asked for a five-year commitment for more loans, particularly for multifamily dwellings and minority businesses; meetings with neighborhood and community leaders; a state investigation of allegations of redlining by insurance companies; state laws to encourage fair lending; local hearings before banking committees of the U.S. Congress; written reports from the banking community to the task force every 30 days; and a round-table discussion at least twice a year.
"Some people think that we are trying to get the banks or trying to subvert the banks," said the Rev. Craig Taylor, leader of SALT. "This is a wooing of the bankers. An extreme compliment has been paid to the bankers: We want them to be in our neighborhoods, too."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month published a series of articles on inequities in home mortgage lending in Atlanta. Following the series, banks announced a plan to make $65 million in low-interest loans available to certain areas and income groups.Go to the next article or back to the Color of Money index or Power Reporting
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