On Thursday, November 12th, the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA) will be presenting our 2015 Report to the Community.
SLEHCRA’s Report to the Community includes findings from a survey of area banks on how they are meeting the needs of the community. Survey responses capture new developments in the following topics:
-New Branch Locations in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.
-Community Development Lending and Investments
-New Financial Products for Low to Moderate Income Customers
-Marketing Outreach to Communities of Color
This year’s report will look at changes in the St. Louis metropolitan area’s banking community that have happened in the past three years. Findings also includes a report on the outcomes from SLEHCRA’s work.
The purpose of this report is to recognize the significant improvements in how the needs of low-income communities and communities of color are being met by banks, while also providing examples of best practices in order to continue the trend of improving performance.
The event is free and open to the public. It will take place at the O’Fallon Park Recreational Complex (4343 W. Florissant), in Meeting Room A/B. The event will take place from 4pm-6pm, allowing for both the presentation and social time. Light refreshments will be served.
On 4/25/2013 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) both released a new proposed supervisory guidance on deposit advance products offered by some banks. Comptroller of Currency Thomas J. Curry states, “The guidance today is an important step toward better protecting consumers and enhancing the safety and soundness of national banks and federal savings associations that may be offering similar products.” The proposed guidance would implement new safeguards to prevent consumers from falling into high-cost debt traps.
Deposit Advance products are short-term, small dollar loans that banks make available to customers with recurring direct deposits with the bank. A recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that deposit advance products and payday loans trap many consumers in a debt spiral because their ability to repay is not taken into consideration. Many consumer advocates say that the deposit advance is nothing more than a payday loan in disguise. According to Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute, “Bank payday loans are predatory products cloaked in the credibility of a mainstream financial institution. While it’s high time for bank payday loans to disappear, the OCC and the FDIC’s proposed guidance takes major steps towards reducing the consumer harm caused by these pernicious products.”
The proposed guidance would:
- Require the bank to assess a borrower’s ability to repay the payday loan while covering living expenses.
- Limit the number of bank payday loans offered to a consumer to six per year.
- End Automatic credit limit increases.
- Investigate whether banks’ payday loans violate any existing consumer protection, federal, or state laws.
- Outline the safety and soundness risks bank payday products may pose to banks.
SLEHCRA, along with many other consumer advocacy groups, had recently submitted CRA public comment letters to the OCC voicing concern about Wells Fargo’s deposit advance product. The new guidance also has implications for the St. Louis region as Regions Bank, which has branches in the St. Louis region, offers a payday loan product called Regions Ready Advance. Therefore, SLEHCRA welcomes this proposed guidance from the FDIC and OCC as a way to significantly increase consumer protection both locally and nationally for bank payday products.
FDICs Press Release
OCCs Press Release
Midwest BankCentre will be opening its first branch in Pagedale, MO on November 17 2012. The branch will be at the Rosie Shields Manor, a senior living facility constructed by Beyond Housing as part of the organization’s 24:1 Initiative. The branch will be the first full-service bank in Pagedale, a milestone in financial inclusion for the community. Midwest will also offer monthly financial education workshops on budgeting, credit management, and identity theft. The grand opening ceremony will be from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 17, and it will include food, games, and other family activities.
The new branch is one of the major steps Midwest BankCentre has made to strengthen its commitment to community reinvestment in St. Louis. Last year SLEHCRA had applauded Midwest BankCentre’s commitments to the community. Today, we applaud the bank for carrying through this important commitment.
St. Louis American’s coverage of the story