Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion and Economic Justice Act – a comprehensive legislative package promoting racial and economic justice in employment, income, wealth, housing and access to credit.

“A person’s race should never put the American Dream at further reach. But despite the progress we’ve made, our nation continues to face significant racial disparities in every part of our society,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “We must ensure that every American has access to opportunities to get ahead and stay ahead. That’s why I was proud to vote for comprehensive legislation to break down barriers to jobs, housing and economic opportunities for communities of color.”

Illinois Congressional Representative Bustos Votes to Pass Package Addressing Racial Disparities in Employment, Income, Wealth

Cheri Bustos

According to the Federal Reserve, Black, Hispanic and Latino households earned about half as much as the average White household and held only 15 to 20 percent as much net wealth on average in 2021. According to Brookings, the racial wealth gap between White and Black households is $10 trillion. The homeownership rate for Black families stood at about 44 percent at the end of 2020, compared with 75 percent for White families, according to the Census Bureau.

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The Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion and Economic Justice Act includes the following bills:

  • The Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act: this bill would require the Federal Reserve to carry out its duties, including its role in setting interest rates, in a manner that supports the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in employment, income, wealth and access to affordable credit, and to report on these trends and its actions to eliminate these disparities.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Data Accountability and Transparency Act: this bill would require the disclosure of diversity and inclusion data from federally regulated financial firms.
  • The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act: this bill would clarify that, in addition to the sex, race and ethnicity of the principal owners of small businesses, financial institutions would also be required to collect their self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity information to help combat discriminatory practices against LGBTQ+ business owners.
  • The Improving Language Access in Mortgage Servicing Act: this bill would establish language access requirements for creditors and servicers to better serve borrowers with limited English proficiency.
  • The Fair Lending for All Act: this bill would clarify and extend anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity, an applicant’s location based on zip code or census tract as protected classes. It also establishes criminal penalties for credit discrimination and creates a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Office of Fair Lending Testing to review loan applications for compliance with applicable laws.
  • The Promoting and Advancing Communities of Color Through Inclusive Lending Act: this bill would make reforms to support minority depository institutions (MDIs), community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and minority lending institutions (MLIs) by establishing a Treasury Office of Diverse and Mission-Driven Community Financial Institutions, authorizing an additional $4 billion in capital investments and assistance, as well as creating a young entrepreneur program.
  • The Promoting New and Diverse Depository Institutions Act: this bill would require Federal banking regulators to study examining challenges prospective new depository institutions face, and to develop a strategic plan support the creation of newly chartered depository institutions, especially MDIs and CDFIs, to promote access to financial services, safety and soundness, consumer protection and community reinvestment.
  • The Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Banking Act: this bill would require Federal banking regulators to include a diversity and inclusion component in the CAMELS rating system to evaluate how federally insured depository institutions are promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • The Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act: this bill would require public companies to annually disclose the voluntarily, self-identified gender, race, ethnicity, and veteran status of their board directors. It would also require the company to confirm whether it has adopted any policy to strengthen diversity among board members or company executives.
  • The Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act: this bill would strengthen MDIs and “impact banks” that predominantly serve low-income communities through partnerships, investments, technical assistance and federal deposits – among other reforms.
  • The Expanding Opportunity for MDIs Act: this bill would codify the Treasury’s Financial Agent Mentor-Protégé Program, providing MDIs and other small financial institutions with mentorship opportunities from larger institutions.
  • The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act: this bill would reauthorize the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program for 4 years and reduce the minimum issuance threshold from $100 million to $25 million to allow more CDFIs to participate.
  • The Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act: this bill would allow all federal credit unions to expand their membership to include underserved communities, including communities that lack a depository institution branch within 10 miles and exempt small business loans made in underserved areas from the credit union member business lending cap.

 

The Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion and Economic Justice Act has been endorsed by the Accion Opportunity Fund, Americans for Financial Reform, Asian Real Estate Association of America, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR), Center for Responsible Lending, CDFI Coalition, Inclusiv, Lendistry, Liberation in a Generation (LibGen), NAACP, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders, National Bankers Association, National CAPACD, National Community Reinvestment Coalition Community Development Fund, National Consumer Law Center, National Housing Law Project, National Housing Resource Center, National Rural Housing Coalition, Opportunity Finance Network, Prosperity Now and SAGE.

Illinois Congressional Representative Bustos Votes to Pass Package Addressing Racial Disparities in Employment, Income, Wealth
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
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Illinois Congressional Representative Bustos Votes to Pass Package Addressing Racial Disparities in Employment, Income, Wealth

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