Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition and Bank of America Reach Agreement --> The Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition and Bank of America have come to an agreement that includes an annual review that will allow the FMCRC to monitor the bank's minority-lending practices.
"We are pleased with this outcome and the willingness of Bank of America to work with FMCRC on these very serious issues our communities of color are facing in Florida," Al Pina, head of the FMCRC said in a statement. "Now it is time to roll up our sleeves on get to work to rebuild our communities, businesses and organizations."
Pina was in the third day of a hunger strike when the accord was reached.
The FMCRC complained that while leaders of Wells Fargo and Chase banks met with the FMCRC and agreed to review bank information once a year so his organization can monitor minority-lending practices, Bank of America refused.
The FMCRC also alleged the bank has a high rate of foreclosures, raising credit-card interest rates and failing to increase credit for struggling businesses -- all while accepting billions in federal bailout money.
At the crux of its argument, Pina and the FMCRC said the bank's practices violated the spirit of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which was passed to prevent banks from denying loans to people in underserved areas -- a practice known as "redlining."
Bank associates disagreed with many of the group's charges, saying, for instance, that Bank of America has received six consecutive "outstanding" Community Reinvestment Act ratings.
A spokeswoman also told HispanicBusiness.com that, contrary to Pina's claims that 65 percent of the loans given to African Americans in 2005-06 were sub-prime, Bank of America stopped making sub-prime loans in 2001.
Bank of America Florida President Mike Fields released a statement Thursday.
"We are pleased to resume our dialogue with FMCRC regarding the level of our commitment and investment in communities across the state of Florida," he said. "Bank of America is acutely aware of the needs of minority and low-income communities in Florida and nationwide."
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