City First Bank
City First Bank delivers innovative and creative community development finance services to low- and moderate-income communities of Washington DC and its nearby suburbs and Los Angeles, California. City First provides a range of banking services to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. They offer competitive returns to socially motivated investors who want a double bottom line return. With aid from the New Markets Tax Credit, they are able to finance large scale projects and offer subsidized financing for eligible projects that offer demonstrated and sustained benefits in low wealth neighborhoods.
A white loan applicant and Black loan applicant each walked into a D.C.-area bank. But there's little humor to their outcomes — what one walked out with was far different from the other, per a study last year done at the height of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program. It was in early in the second round of PPP funding, which started April 27, 2020. Both applicants were seeking information on the crucial forgivable loans that were keeping so many small businesses alive through the pandemic. Yet, the Black applicant was told by a local bank representative that no PPP information could be provided and was instead referred to another branch. The white applicant? Got a recommendation for a business line of credit and instructions on how to apply for a business credit card with the bank — a "great option," the bank representative said. City First Bank is mentioned.
The current movement for racial reconciliation has raised awareness of the centuries-long wealth gap in America between whites and people of color—and of the role Black-owned banks can play to bridge it. Even if you don’t have a team of money managers or hundreds of millions to shift to Black-owned institutions, you can still start an account with a bank dedicated to investing in underserved communities. Banks mentioned include Carver Federal Savings Bank, City First Bank, First Independence Bank, and OneUnited Bank.
Citigroup Inc. said it will invest in digital mortgage offerings as part of its pledge to improve homeownership rates among communities of color. The push to digital comes as Citigroup said the rate of applications and originations it processed for Black and Hispanic consumers dropped last year, even as it increased for Asian homeowners. In response, the firm is also still planning to expand its community lending team and its network of correspondent lenders, it said. Citigroup has pledged $100 million to support minority deposit institutions in the U.S., which have seen their numbers dwindling in recent years. The firm’s already allocated almost half of that commitment to banks including Broadway Financial Corp., Mechanics & Farmers Bank and Optus Bank.