VP Harris, Treasury Announce $8.7B for Lending in Minority Communities

In Summary

The billions of dollars from the treasury will go to more than 180 banks nationwide which are minority-owned or focus on underserved communities. 

In a forum discussion revolving around the racial wealth divide, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that $8.7 billion in treasury lending will go towards minority communities.  

The $8.7 billion is part of the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP). Congress approved the program in 2020 to help issue loans, grants and forbearance for small and minority-owned businesses. The lending will also impact low-income and underserved communities that sustained hardships during the pandemic.  

In discussion with Secretary Janet Yellen hosted by the annual Freedman’s Bank Forum, Harris said the billions of dollars will go to 180 banks that are minority-owned or focus on underserved communities nationwide.  

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“Deep racial disparities continue to hold people back from achieving all they can,” Harris said on Tuesday. “Today, the wealth gap persists. Today, the homeownership gap persists. Black entrepreneurs are three times more likely to report that a lack of access to capital negatively affects their profit margins.”  

Harris worked on the bill as a senator to establish the ECIP program.  

“Community lenders understand best the needs of these communities and see the potential, then, for growth,” Harris said. “Community lenders understand the value in providing access to capital directly to these communities.”  

Yellen said the money will provide a sigh of relief for minority-owned businesses trying to reacclimate themselves during the COVID-19 climate. 

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“Here, it’s very easy to connect the policy with the personal,” Yellen said. “What this will do is prevent small business owners of color from closing two of their locations. And better yet, it will help people open two more.”  

The wealth divide is staggering, with Black Americans representing 13.4% of the U.S. population. 

However, according to Federal Reserve figures, Black Americans account for only 4.3% of household wealth. 

“It’s about restructuring a system,” Harris said. “We should see the natural progression of where this could end up on many issues, including the issue of whether we have a society that allows small businesses to thrive, communities to grow economically.” 

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