WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced Tuesday the release of $8.7 billion to help increase lending to small and minority-owned businesses and people living in poorer communities with limited access to banking.
The funds from the Emergency Capital Investment Program, which was created this year, will go to 186 community-based financial institutions. Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen planned to discuss the investments in remarks Tuesday at the Freedman’s Bank Forum.
Black Americans represent 13.4% of the U.S. population, yet Federal Reserve figures show they control just 4.3% of household wealth. More than half of Black household wealth is in the form of pension entitlements, which cannot be passed along to future generations. This inequity makes it harder for people living in predominantly Black communities to qualify for business loans and mortgages in ways that could help build their net worth.
The $8.7 billion will be going to institutions headquartered in 36 states, as well as Guam and Washington, D.C. Roughly 54% of the funds is going to banks and 46% to credit unions. The distributions will range from more than $200 million for the largest institutions to less than $100,000 for smaller ones.
A senior Treasury official said that the investment could spur additional capital to poorer communities. But the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations, also noted that even with the additional funds the lack of capital in such communities is still an enormous problem.
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