‘In 2024, we plan to take (our accountability) work to the next level.’
By Madison D'Ornellas,
Digital Communications Associate
From adopting a new brand and name to negotiating more than $10 billion in Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) for California communities, it was a big year for Rise Economy. Now, with the year drawing to a close and as 2024 beckons, Rise Economy staff members took some time to reflect on the current year and share their goals for 2024.
This year, we really honed in on accountability work by facilitating several meetings with banks, working to unmask the identities of corporate landlords and championing state public bank initiatives. In 2024, we plan to take this work to the next level with our LLC owner transparency campaign, which will give us the necessary data to hold corporate entities such as corporate landlords accountable for the harm they do in our communities, and to push for the creation of CalAccount, which will ensure that all Californians have access to a fee-free checking account and are not reliant on predatory financial institutions. We also plan to support the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in a huge way beginning in January.
2023 was a great year for holding financial institutions accountable. I look forward to continuing this work in greater capacity in the next year, whether it be implementing our numerous community benefits agreements, increasing our advocacy and accountability around bank financing of fossil fuels and climate change or advocating for a CRA for California, which would protect consumers and communities in innovative ways. Continuing to deepen our work on ensuring financial institutions are equitably serving California communities and are doing right by the consumers and communities it profits from will be essential to our mission in 2024.
Two years ago, we started the Resilience Fund, a two-year initiative to provide grants and support to emerging Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). We’ll wrap up the program this year and in 2024, we’ll re-emerge as the Resilience Loan Fund, a program poised to bridge the capital gap for emerging BIPOC-led CDFIs. This initiative is rooted in our commitment from two years ago with a focus on creating vital opportunities for underserved communities, driving economic growth, creating jobs, and fostering inclusive communities.With a $5 million fund target and diverse partner support, I’m thrilled to be able to prioritize impact beyond numbers and begin lending in 2024.
In 2023, Rise Economy and our members participated in several meetings with banks centered around the implementation of Special Purpose Credit Programs — or SPCPs for short, which are specialized loan programs that banks can create to extend credit on favorable terms to communities that have faced historic and ongoing barriers to fair and equitable credit — we’d negotiated in CBAs. Building from our experience and feedback from our members, we published a fact sheet highlighting the need for SPCPs with a set of recommendations for banks seeking to create programs of their own. In 2024, we look forward to advocating for the creation and implementation of more of these programs by financial institutions.
Kevin Stein, Chief of Legal and Strategy
This was a year of strong advocacy with the finalization of the foundational Community Reinvestment Act and Section 1071 small business data collection rules, the completion of three important CBAs (including the resurrection of the Silicon Valley Bank CBA with First Citizens Bank), and the development of several key research reports.
In the coming year, we look forward to building off of these successes by continuing our fights to defend consumer protection and fair lending against industry attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its Section 1071 small business rule. We look forward to working with financial institutions to realize the promises of our CBAs, including the development of impactful Special Purpose Credit Programs targeted to underserved racial and ethnic borrower groups, greater support for and partnership with Native American communities, and increased capital for community land trusts to build and preserve affordable housing opportunities and to fight displacement.
And we cannot ignore that we live in a state that has been ravaged by fires, floods, and extreme heat as climate change marches on. We look forward to doing our part, to working with new allies, and to developing campaigns to ensure that financial institutions are part of the solution in financing climate resiliency to help communities prepare for and mitigate against the worst impacts of climate change, and not part of the problem through continued financing of fossil fuels.
In 2024, the Family Economic Security Promotores program plans to strengthen connections between BIPOC communities, microentrepreneur vendors and other community organizations. Our primary focus will be to continue empowering individuals with 1-on-1 coaching and comprehensive financial knowledge, enabling our Promotores to confidently navigate the economic landscape. Our vision in 2024 is to foster an economically empowered and resilient network of entrepreneurs and families who are confident in their financial pursuits.