San Diego City Council Passes Responsible Banking Ordinance

September 19, 2012– Last night, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that increases transparency and holds banks accountable to San Diego residents. The Responsible Banking Ordinance, sponsored by Council President Tony Young, requires banks doing business with the city to disclose local data on their lending, services and investments in San Diego’s diverse communities. This data will include information on foreclosures and loan modifications made by the banks.

The ordinance also requires these banks to submit a two-year community reinvestment plan to the city that details how they will meet lending and service needs in San Diego. By requiring these plans, the City Council has taken positive steps towards compelling financial institutions to think intentionally about how their products and practices could align with the needs and opportunities specific to San Diego. Reinvestment plans will allow for communication and a mechanism for greater accountability.

Banks’ annual reports and reinvestment plans will be reviewed by a community reinvestment review committee.Using this information, the committee will issue a recommendation to the City Council and Treasurer on which banks to select for the city’s financial services contracts.

“This ordinance provides some much needed leverage to advocate for banks to better serve the needs of San Diego communities,” said Liana Molina of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “We look forward to working with our members in San Diego to support the implementation process.”

The ordinance was broadly supported by a strong coalition of community, labor and neighborhood activists, who spoke in support of the ordinance during the public comment period at the City Council meeting last night. San Diego’s ordinance follows in the footsteps of similar responsible banking ordinances that have passed in Oakland and Los Angeles.

The California Reinvestment Coalition advocates for the right of low-income communities and communities of color to have fair and equal access to banking and other financial services. CRC has a membership of nearly 300nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the State.

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