Boston, MA – Thirty-two years after its founding, the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council is finishing 2022 with a new name and is now doing business as the Partnership for Financial Equity.
MCBC was formed in 1990 after a year-long effort of banks and community groups to respond to the 1989 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study on racial disparities in area mortgage lending. That draft study was leaked to the media on January 11, 1989 and precipitated a tumultuous campaign that saw protests, forums, and eventually negotiations between bankers and activists.
With a Board of Directors split evenly between bankers and community representatives, MCBC is known for producing annual reports on changing patterns of home mortgage and small business lending as well as being the place where Basic Banking for Massachusetts was conceived in 1994 and the anti-predatory lending campaign, Don’t Borrow Trouble, got its start in 1999. In 2007, MCBC’s research led to the passage of the Mortgage Lender Community Investment act making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to cover independent mortgage companies for community reinvestment (Illinois followed suit last year).
MCBC’s Board hired veteran community activist Tom Callahan, formerly at the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, in January and has been productive in 2022. The organization weighed in on proposed Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) reform at the federal level with two policy positions that broke new ground, endorsing the addition of race as a performance measure for the Community Reinvestment Act and creating an incentive for institutions that get an “outstanding” CRA rating by lowering borrowing costs at the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Bank advance windows.
In October, the organization held its first-ever Financial Equity Summit, which drew over 300 people to the two-day event, and launched a new peer network for CRA officers at banks, credit unions and mortgage companies in Massachusetts.
As the year closes, Partnership for Financial Equity has launched a new website at www.financialequity.net and is positioned to play a role in the current debate about racial discrimination in the home appraisal profession, serving on two national panels on this topic. The next year will also include an organizational focus on implementation of the first significant reform of the Community Reinvestment Act in more than 25 years, and promotion of Special Purpose Credit Programs that allow lenders to design targeted programs for specific populations that have been historically shut out of the financial mainstream.