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December 2, 2021

The Banking System Must Change to Address Racial Economic Inequality: New Better Markets Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Contact: Doug Walker at 202-618-6430 or dwalker@bettermarkets.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Phillip Basil, Director of Banking Policy at Better Markets, issued the following statement on the release of Better Markets’ new report, Addressing Racial Economic Inequality through the Banking System:

“Generations of discrimination and mistreatment informed by racist beliefs, narratives, laws, policies, and practices have contributed to deeply entrenched structural inequities within the financial services sector that continue to profoundly undermine the economic status of people of color.

“The report published by Better Markets today outlines actions the U.S. banking regulatory agencies should take to begin moving toward a more just and equitable society, and also reviews the insufficient commitments of the largest banks.

“Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, and other Americans of color are more likely to have lower-income jobs, more likely to be unemployed, less likely to have significant savings, more likely to be underbanked or unbanked overall, less likely to own a home, and more likely to use more expensive and predatory financial products. This is all part of a shameful picture that has resulted in a racial wealth gap that is substantial and has been growing for decades.

“An increased provision of and access to affordable credit, capital, and basic financial services can make a significant difference to economically marginalized communities of color with simply managing day-to-day finances or more impactful activities such as purchasing wealth-building assets or opening small businesses.

“Existing laws and mandates in the banking system may have the right intentions, but they do not explicitly and effectively target the issues through strict requirements or truly meaningful consequences when banks fail to meet current requirements. The regulatory Agencies must and can do more under their existing authorities, and the banks themselves can take concrete action to reverse the effects of structural racism embedded in the banking system due, in part, to their past practices.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.

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