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JP Morgan and Google launch programs to support minority-owned banks

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JPMorgan Chase and Google launched a program on Tuesday to help colored-owned and led banks increase their lending capacity.

The new initiative is called “Empowering Change”. It is designed to allow banks that own a majority or are overseen by people of color to provide large corporations with JP Morgan-backed money market funds. Most minority deposit agencies do not otherwise have the resources to serve their companies.

The program provides the same services to minority-led community development financial institutions. These financial institutions provide credit to poorly serviced markets that mainstream lenders usually overlook.

According to JP Morgan, Empower Change will provide minority-owned banks with access to corporate customers and a new source of revenue to help these banks better serve their communities.

“MDI and CDFI are very important components of the financial system that can achieve larger scale with more investment and support,” JP Morgan Executive Director Ted Archer told CNN Business. “We believe we can work with them to extend their capabilities to communities that are in desperate need of access to banks and financial services.”

JPMorgan will receive an annual management fee for investment assets provided through Empowering Change, which says it will donate 12.5% ​​of its proceeds to a non-profit organization for local community development.

Google plans to invest a total of $ 500 million in the Empowering Change program’s money market share fund. Initially, according to search engine companies, these funds were led by four minorities: M & F Bank in North Carolina, Harbor Bank in Maryland, Liberty Bank and Trust in New Orleans, and Unity National Bank in Texas and Atlanta. Distributed by the bank.

“This is another step in continuing to support minority and diversity-led institutions in the hope of inspiring and synergizing other participants,” said Juan Rajlin, Google’s accountant at CNN Business. Told to.

James Sills, president and CEO of M & F Bank, said Empowering Change provides MDI with a way to play a greater role in closing the wealth gap between White America and most people of color. According to a consumer finance survey quoted by the Federal Reserve, the average white household had a net worth of $ 901,000 in 2016, while the average black household had a net worth of only $ 140,000.

“The new share class will create new, regular and long-term revenue opportunities for M & F banks, which will benefit the community,” Sills told CNN Business.

Empowerment Change is just one of the latest programs inspired by JP Morgan’s $ 30 billion commitment to promoting racial equality. The company made a promise in October in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragedy. This has allowed the entire corporate United States to do more to combat institutional racism.

In connection with that commitment, JP Morgan said it would invest $ 50 million in Black and Latin-led MDI and community development finance institutions. Banks confirmed on Tuesday that they had already invested a total of $ 40 million in holdings of four black-owned banks, Caixa Econôte Savings Bank in New York City and Broadway Federal Bank in Los Angeles, in addition to Liberty Bank, Trust and M & F. Bank.

JP Morgan has also created a program that uses the new market tax credits to incentivize community development projects in underserved communities. Through its tax credit program, the company has invested $ 20 million in the Washington, DC-based non-profit Community of Hope to provide food relief, after-school programs, and other targeted assistance to the poor and the elderly. doing.

Part of the funds invested will be used to improve MDI’s technological capabilities. This is one of the top priorities of the year, according to the National Bankers Association, an industry association representing 23 lenders owned by US minorities. The association’s president, Robert James, says he looks forward to working with JP Morgan and Google to expand the services it offers to all MDIs.

“We all have a joint mission to bridge the racial wealth gap,” James said. “If we all work together, it will be much stronger than if there were only a handful of participating banks.”

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