Harris, Yellen Eye Community Finance 09/29 06:17
Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plan to use
this year's Freedman's Bank Forum to highlight how federal coronavirus pandemic
relief program funds have helped support Black- and minority-owned businesses.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet
Yellen plan to use this year's Freedman's Bank Forum to highlight how federal
coronavirus pandemic relief program funds have helped support Black- and
The Treasury Department said in a statement that "the importance of
expanding the community finance system will be front and center" at the Oct. 6
forum. In 2015, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew launched the annual Freedman's
conference to develop strategies to address persistent racial economic
Roughly 96% of Black-owned businesses are sole proprietorships and
single-employee companies. These businesses have the hardest time finding
funding and are often the first to suffer during economic downturns. They often
turn to financial institutions for the underserved and other non-traditional
lenders for micro-loans and grants.
Earlier this month, Treasury announced that it had disbursed roughly $8.28
billion in relief funds to 162 community financial institutions across the
country through its Emergency Capital Investment Program.
The forum will include a panel on new support for community finance
institutions, small businesses and low wealth communities, "all in an effort to
unlock the economic potential of communities of color, rural areas, and others
that have experienced limits on economic opportunity," the department said.
A February Government Accountability Office report outlined how various
agencies could improve efforts to increase banking access for people who don't
have access to bank accounts.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the National Credit Union
Administration and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were all
identified for improvements.