SAN FRANCISCO, MOUNTAIN VIEW, OAKLAND –Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), Community Bank of the Bay (CBB) and the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) announced today a unique collaboration to help curb commercial lending that displaces local tenants, homeowners, small businesses, and community institutions in the Bay Area’s red hot markets. The partners agreed on a set of principles designed to ensure that lending and investment activity in the region promotes community stability and mitigates displacement pressures.
The partners agreed to promote an Anti-Displacement Code of Conduct, developed by CRC and its members, that calls on financial institutions and institutional investors to end financing practices that lead to the foreseeable displacement of residents, and to instead promote lending and investment that fosters tenant, homeowner, small business, and community stability.
Seventy California nonprofit organizations have endorsed the Code of Conduct’s principles. The Code was developed as a constructive guide to responsible investment in response to CRC and Anti Eviction Mapping Project research, which found that troubling lending and investing by banks in the City of Oakland were essentially financing the displacement of local residents.
“CRC is excited to partner with Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Community Bank of the Bay in support of our Anti-Displacement Code of Conduct,” said Paulina Gonzalez, Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “Bay Area families shouldn’t be forced to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. Working together, we can leverage our collective efforts to stop the harmful displacement financing that is plaguing the Bay Area and other parts of the state, and support our families to remain in their communities.”
Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in the world, embraced the Code of Conduct in response to the growing impact of gentrification on the area’s low-income residents. SVCF agreed to work with financial institutions to promote the Code of Conduct and to provide support for CRC’s anti-displacement advocacy efforts.
“SVCF wants to ensure that we are utilizing all of the foundation’s resources to support our values and the goals of economic justice and equity on behalf of our communities,” said Bert Feuss, Senior Vice President, Investments at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “We are excited to leverage our investment relationships in furtherance of the Code of Conduct and in partnership with CRC and CBB. This is a classic win-win.”
“When Silicon Valley Community Foundation approached us about endorsing the Anti-Displacement Code of Conduct, we reviewed it thoroughly,” said Bill Keller, CEO of Community Bank of the Bay. “For the most part, our philosophy and activities were in line with the Code, but we also thought, we want to be the best bank for the communities we serve, and aligning our practices more closely with the Code of Conduct was a great way to achieve that objective.”
Key components of the Code of Conduct include an agreement to:
- Refrain from financing serial evictors and problematic commercial developers.
- Ensure borrower landlords are prepared to comply with state and local tenant protection laws.
- Underwrite multi-family home loans to current rents and local rent control laws, and not make loans that require or assume that landlords will immediately and dramatically raise rents beyond what current tenants can afford to pay.
- Make mortgage loans to local homeowners who can build wealth.
- Finance the preservation and creation of affordable rental housing that keeps families housed.
- Help small businesses remain in the community and continue to serve their customers and neighborhoods by offering loan products to help them purchase buildings, and philanthropic support to help them negotiate long-term leases.
- Support local government efforts and initiatives to fight displacement, preserve and create affordable housing opportunities, support local small businesses, and respond to homelessness.
The collaborative partners are seeking additional signatories on the Code of Conduct to drive more local investment conversations towards equity, including investments into designated Opportunity Zones, which were developed to pump money into low-income census tracts, but which local advocates fear will fuel displacement of local residents and businesses.
“Banks are required to help meet local community credit needs and should work to help build household and community wealth, yet displacement financing by banks exacerbates community and household financial strains,“ said Kevin Stein, Deputy Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “We are hopeful this unique collaboration will shine a light on problematic bank conduct and end harmful practices, demonstrate that there is a better path for banks to follow, and encourage pension funds, foundations and other investors to direct resources to keep local families, community serving small business, and nonprofit organizations in the community.”
A precedent for the Anti-Displacement Code of Conduct exists in New York, where the Association for Neighborhood Housing & Development has developed its own Multifamily Best Practices which led to the development by the New York State Department of Financial Services Guidance on Permissible Lending Practices to Combat Inappropriate Practices, including displacement, tenant harassment and unsafe living conditions. California’s Department of Business Oversight could develop similar guidance for state-charted banks, which CRC believes are responsible for significant amounts of displacement financing.
About the Partners
California Reinvestment Coalition
The California Reinvestment Coalition drives changes in corporate, state, and federal practices and policies. We use member and community engagement, policy advocacy, and research to amplify voices of historically marginalized communities. We are building a fair and inclusive economy for all Californians. CRC builds locally-held community wealth, strengthens family and household financial capability, and creates economic opportunity through fair and equitable development. Learn more at calreinvest.org.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.
Community Bank of the Bank
Community Bank of the Bay (“CBB”; OTCBB:CBYAA), with total assets of $410mil, serves the financial needs of closely-held businesses and professional service firms, as well as their owner-operators and non-profit organizations, throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. CBB is a member of the FDIC, an SBA Preferred Lender, and a CDARS depository institution, headquartered in Oakland, with full service offices in Danville and San Mateo, CA. We are California’s first FDIC-insured certified Community Development Financial Institution. CBB is recognized for establishing the Bay Area Green Fund to provide financing to sustainable businesses and projects and supports environmentally responsible values. Additional information on CBB is available online at www.BankCBB.com.
Partner Contact Information