Community organizations looking for helpful information about the Community Reinvestment Act were in luck this week as Bridgewater State University hosted a free workshop on the subject. More than 40 individuals attended the event, representing senior leadership from more than 30 organizations and agencies located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“Partnering for Success: Community Reinvestment Act Training for Community Organizations” was presented by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in partnership with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and BSU’s Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives.
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed in 1977, to guard against discrimination in loans made to individuals, businesses and organizations from low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Under the law, any bank that receives FDIC insurance must comply. The goal is to encourage banks to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate.
Doing so can sometimes be a challenge, said Dr. Margaret Brooks, director of BSU’s Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives.
“Non-profits are not always aware of the opportunities for CRA funding that are available to them from local banks, while at the same time banks may not be aware of the important work being done by non-profit organizations within their service areas,” she said. “That’s why regional workshops, such as this one hosted by BSU, are so valuable in facilitating new partnerships that can benefit low- and moderate-income communities.”
The workshop, held in the Moakley Auditorium, looked at every aspect of the Community Reinvestment Act, and also focused on what kinds of community development are covered by the law, how to develop effective relationships with local financial institutions, and information from the banks’ perspective, as to how they decide who to grant credit to and their expectations once they partner with a community.
As part of the day's presentations, BSU Trustee Chairman Thomas Caron, ’75, took participants through the basics of the law; and Todd Audyatis, assistant vice president of development, presented on building partnerships and making connections. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)
Photo caption: (Left to right) Jerry Saphire, president of the Sharon Rotary Club; Dr. Margaret Brooks, director of the BSU Office of Financial Literacy Initiatives; Roberta Saphire, co-chairman of The Law Your Money and You; and Rosemarie Alicea, assistant director of the Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.