By Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Executive Director CRC

When we fight we win!

It’s been five years since we stood outside of the Federal Reserve building in Los Angeles protesting the OneWest/CIT merger as the banking regulators held a hearing inside. I still remember that day like it was yesterday; some of our members who stood with us that day are no longer with us. I think today of Marva Smith Battle Bey who led us in chants about the power of the people. I hope today we made her proud.

It’s been four years since the OCC approved the merger without a strong CRA plan.

It’s been two years since the largest investor of OneWest bank, Steven Mnuchin, was appointed as Secretary of the Treasury, and OneWest CEO Joseph Otting was appointed as Comptroller of the Currency, the head regulator of national banks in the Trump administration.

Over these five years, our members stood with us and never once gave up.

Now, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Otting are no longer leading or investors in CIT. Today, with new leadership at CIT/OneWest Bank, CRC and our members have negotiated an historic CRA agreement with CIT Bank/OneWest.

This community benefits agreement is big, and we couldn’t have done it without our members and allies in the community.

Today, building off our HUD redlining settlement announced a few months ago, we again make the case that banks do indeed have to be accountable to the communities that they do business in.

You’ll find our joint release with the bank here:
California Reinvestment Coalition, National Community Reinvestment Coalition and CIT Announce $7.75 Billion Community Benefits Plan

CRC members protest at 2015 Federal Reserve hearing during OneWest/CIT merger

Key elements of the community benefits plan include:
  • $6.5 billion of community lending and investments in California, where CIT Bank has the largest concentration of retail branches and $15 Billion in deposits, to support $2.5 billion in single family lending, $1.42 billion of multi-family lending, $780 million of small business lending, $1.8 billion of community development lending and $25 million of charitable grants with a focus on initiatives that support affordable housing, economic development and financial education and wellbeing. The bank agrees to develop new mortgage and small business loan products in consultation with CRC members.
  • Adding another retail branch in our state, which will serve low and moderate-income customers in a neighborhood of color.  This makes two new branches in LMI and neighborhoods of color – the first was agreed to as part of our HUD redlining settlement agreement with CIT.
  • The Bank commits that CIT will no longer argue that the California Homeowner Bill of Rights is preempted by federal law.
  • The Bank agrees to review its policies, procedures and practices to see how they align with CRC’s Anti Displacement Code of Conduct, and agrees to discuss in good faith with CRC and community groups the role it can play in reducing involuntary displacement of LMI individuals and people of color.
  • $1.25 billion of community investments, lending and grants in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Texas, where Mutual of Omaha Bank’s branches are located.
We are grateful for the support of our members and allies throughout this important campaign. We’d like to especially thank NCRC for their support in this negotiation and look forward to working with them in the implementation of this agreement.