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Why the Government’s Investment in Underserved Communities is a Win for all Stakeholders 

Published By: Urban Campus & Core

November 1, 2022

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Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen recently announced that the Department of the Treasury made over $8.28 billion of investments in 162 community financial institutions across the country through the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP). 

According to the Treasury Department, these funds “will support the efforts of community financial institutions to provide loans, grants, and other assistance to small and minority-owned businesses and consumers, especially in low-income and financially underserved communities that struggled during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Urban Campus & Core CEO and Managing Partner Jennifer Horne applauds the government’s efforts. 

“Underserved and more often under-resourced communities are very aware of the true needs and opportunities that would help their neighborhoods grow; however it is challenging for many community leaders to attract capital at the level of investment that will make a meaningful impact and inspire more transformational projects,” said Horne. 

The Treasury Department states that the communities served by these ECIP investments share a common characteristic of having suffered from a lack of investment, as opportunity has been disproportionately concentrated in certain neighborhoods and areas of the country. 

“President Biden and I are fighting to build a nation in which every person, no matter where they start, has an opportunity to succeed and thrive.  Community banks are essential to that goal,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, in a statement released by the Treasury Department.  “Small businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and community organizations are using the ECIP funds to create opportunity and prosperity, not only for their community, but for our nation.”

Horne believes these types of investments are vital to revitalizing struggling communities like some of the areas in Nashville. 

“Investments like those initiated by the Treasury Department are a great step toward adding resources to areas of need,” she said. “I am hopeful that future rounds of investment will be directed at areas like Nashville that are facing serious housing affordability issues and desperately need creative programs to help align resources to develop units for many residents that sit in the "economic middle”.

The community financial institutions that received investments through ECIP include banks, holding companies, and credit unions designated as community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or minority depository institutions (MDIs). 

Horne points to the mission-driven financial institutions in Nashville that make ideal partners in programs such as the ECIP. 

“With local financial leaders like Citizens Bank and Pathway Lending offering programs to advance the creation of affordable housing and attainable homeownership, we can actively see a growing number of projects that will address these gaps in the near future,” said Horne. “I hope that the Treasury will continue to invest in community leaders to drive resources to areas of need.”

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