For Immediate Release:
November 7, 2017
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Grosso seeks to prioritize fair practices and equitable community development in awarding of D.C. banking contracts
Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced legislation to strengthen existing responsible banking laws to ensure that the District of Columbia is investing in financial institutions that engage in fair lending practices and meet the needs of historically underserved communities.
”While there is certainly no perfect financial institution, we should endeavor to prioritize partnerships with business entities, banks, and other financial institutions that are committed to engaging in fair and responsible business practices and those that fulfill their obligations to meet the credit and other needs of the communities they serve,” said Grosso.
The legislation introduced today, the Strengthening Community Development Amendment Act of 2017 requires that financial institutions seeking to do business with the city highlight the programs, products, and any partnerships they have established to promote affordable housing and equitable development, in addition to submitting community development plans.
The bill also increases the weight D.C.’s Chief Financial Officer must give to a financial institution’s community development score, a rating of how well it meets the credit needs of its local communities, in awarding the District’s banking business. Finally, it requires the CFO to seek public comment before executing an option year on a contract with banks doing business with D.C.
“Public transparency and accountability should always be paramount when the District of Columbia seeks to conduct business with financial institutions,” Grosso said. “We must ensure that these banks will serve the convenience and needs of their local communities and invest responsibly to help maintain the vibrancy of our neighborhoods through sound services and lending.”
Grosso has been pushing for greater scrutiny of the financial institutions D.C. does business with since earlier this year, calling on the CFO to reassess its business with Wells Fargo and introducing a Sense of the Council resolution urging divestment.
In March, Wells Fargo, D.C.’s bank of record, received a national rating of “Needs to Improve” on community lending from its federal regulator. Despite this and other reports of unethical business practices, D.C. continues its relationship with the troubled bank.