Governor Cuomo Announces a 2020 Statewide Proposal for CDFIs

At the beginning of this new decade, we shared our 2020 vision: To continue to explore ways we can invest our dollars responsibly, so more people have access to the financial tools they need to build wealth. Thankfully, we aren’t standing alone in this work. We proudly share our mission of financial inclusion with the 83 other US Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution Funds (CDFl’s)– mission-driven financial institutions, banks, credit unions, and nonprofits–in New York State. And, Governor Cuomo does too.

Governor Cuomo recently announced the “21st Proposal of his 2020 State of the State: Expanding Access to Safe and A/fordable Financial Services.” In partnership with CDFls, his proposal includes the following strategies:

  • $25 million in new funding over five years to increase access to affordable financial products in underserved communities across New YorkState through, New York’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI)
  • The launch of a statewide “Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment” as a single-stop provider of financial services and providers across housing, student loan, debt, and general financial literacy
  • The expansion of access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education, particularly for women and communities of color, typically excluded from the current financial systems.

To execute these strategies, Governor Cuomo proposes to work with CDFls, who, like us, are often the sole providers of banking and other financial products and services in low-income communities. Under the Governor’s proposal, participating CDFls will leverage this funding, providing upwards of $300 million in targeted investment in underserved communities in New York for consumers, affordable housing, and small businesses.
Governor Cuomo’s vision includes expanding access to low-cost bank accounts to low-income New Yorkers who often find that the only accessible banking service in their communities are high-cost check cashers who take huge finance fees out of people’s paychecks. According to the FDIC, approximately 25 percent of New York households do not have bank accounts or seldom use one and rely on costly non-bank services for their financial activities. Expanding financial literacy education and access to microcredit for small businesses is also part of the proposal.
In a press release announcing his strategies, Governor Cuomo acknowledged the prevalence of exploitation by predatory lenders in low-income communities in New York:

“We’ve made significant strides expanding access to banking services for low income New Yorkers, but too many people still live in banking deserts,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a result, these New Yorkers often turn to costly check-cashing services or take out illegal predatory payday loans because they can’t access affordable small business loans at community banks. These sweeping proposals will provide New Yorkers with the services they need to build their credit, improve financial literacy, and take charge of their economic futures – helping build a fairer and stronger New York.”

Linda MacFarlane, the Executive Director of CDFI, Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region and chair of the New York State CDFI Coalition of which we are a proud member, has been discussing the proposal with the Governor’s office, the New York State Department of Financial Services and Empire State Development Corp. and has “high hopes” for the Governor’s new proposal.

We do too. We are proud to serve New York City as one of 83 CDFIs in the state who helped shape the New York State CDFI Fund to expand access to safe and affordable products. Creating access to credit and wealth-building financial tools for communities typically excluded is why we headquartered in the Bronx—and why we continue to explore ways in which to serve New York City as a mission-driven, ethical bank.

We invite you to join us in the mission. 

Register for this year’s NY State CDFI Conference in Albany, March 30-31st. You will learn more about how you can join CDFIs in making a difference every day in New York, State. Invest your dollars locally with us. Open a Green Checking account with us today. When you bank in your community, you support the credit and wealth-building of your neighbors and local businesses.

Read our 2020 Vision and follow us on LinkedIn, where we share stories about what it means to be an ethical bank, and our vision for a shared and durable prosperity for all.

We’ve got big news, just in time for Earth Day! Spring Bank is officially carbon-neutral! We’ve offset over 192,874.28 kg of CO2e and are helping to preserve the Amazon rainforest and support 80 indigenous families who live in the rainforests of Pará, Brazil as a result.   Through a partnership with fellow B Corp, Carbon Credit Capital, we’ve spent the last several months assessing our carbon outputs in an “emissions inventory.”  The emissions inventory analyzed our business operations from January 1 to December 31, 2018, from our headquarters in the Bronx and our Harlem branch across three significant externalities:

  • Office Energy Consumption: Carbon Credit Capital assessed our use of grid electricity, renewable electricity and natural gas. As of November 1, 2018, we proudly partnered with Green Mountain Energy to source 100 percent renewable energy. We also did a lighting energy saving upgrade at our Bronx headquarter which saved 42,863 kWh. Overall, data showed us that our 2018 energy consumption created an output of 69,985.66 kg CO2e. We are excited that next year this number will be zero!
  • Office Waste: We are taking significant steps to convert our office into a recycling-first, composting organization. Through a waste audit and partnership with GreenFeen OrganiX—a waste management, a worker-owned cooperative that uses innovative green technology and grassroots organizing to redesign current waste systems– these changes include separating organics, paper/cardboard, and metal/glass/plastic for more rigorous recycling and more frequent pick-up. Increased signage, employee training, and the pursuit of an electronics recycler partnership will be implemented in the next few months. Our waste emissions totaled 15,719.95 kg CO2e.
  • Employee Transportation: We assessed the year-round commutes of 37 of our employees, including each employee’s commute distance, transportation modes, and seasonal habits. The carbon outputs of nine business trips outside of NYC and weekly average travel distances for customer site visits were also assessed. Our total transportation emissions for 2018 was 107,168.67 kgCO2e.

Our carbon credits support ADPML, an organization who works with 80 indigenous families to train them in land and land-use stewardship in an area of the Brazilian rainforest that is being logged rapidly and illegally to make room for cattle ranching that further degrades the land. By ensuring over 368,000 acres of virgin rainforest will never be logged for cattle ranching, ADPML expects to reduce over 22 million metric tons (or over 48.4 billion pounds) of greenhouse gas.

We are incredibly proud to be carbon neutral! As a B Corp bank, it’s a journey we’ve been on for many years, and we give gratitude to Carbon Credit Capital for their partnership and guidance as they helped us achieve this milestone.

“We are thrilled to help Spring Bank become carbon neutral and hope that they can be a beacon for other CDFI’s and financial institutions in general to do the same. With this announcement, we’re showing that carbon neutrality is possible and meaningful for everyone,” says Reed Shapiro, Director of Business Development at Carbon Credit Capital.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day!

Read about the Amazonian project our carbon credits support in Brazil. Go carbon neutral and partner with Carbon Credit Capital to assess your footprint. Happy Earth Day!