MARK ALLEN TALKS -- While Seaway and ShoreBank put up excellent public relations campaigns in certain Black media outlets, back on the ground where real poor people are, they both received the worst rating from a report card on banks and their investment with hundreds of grassroots community organizing efforts. The Monroe Foundation and The Community Reinvestment Organizers Project reported that while many mainstream banks have actively and systematically participated in the report card, that Seaway and Shorebank's have not responded in TWO YEARS of outreach efforts by a number of Coalltion members with those bank leaders.
This latest report card meeting was featured as part of Rev. Al Sharpton's National 12 Month Action Plan where I reported, along with Wallace "Gator" Bradley of United In Peace, as one of the national community organizers that Warren Ballentine who heads the National Action Network's 12 Month Action plans Banking Accountability Project has already adopted the format of The Community Reinvestment Organizers Project as a national model for other states to use in working with State Government officials in getting state deposits into local community banks, and then to local community organizing projects for investment in developing access to capital for sustaining and increasing Black businesses and local community jobs. It's just unfortunate that an effort that has over 200 Black community organizations working to empower underserved Black and poor communities would have to report an "Incomplete" grade to two major insititutions who publicly report their repututations for the empowerment of the Black community, but I and others suggested that these two Banks, Seaway and Shorebank are "class" banks with no real commitment to make outreach to poor communities, as many of the orther bank leaders that participated recived excellent ratings. A complete report can be obtained from Otis Monroe, President of The Monroe Foundation at www.themonroefoundation.org and 773-315-9720
This latest meeting was hosted by The Ministers Conference.of South Suburban Cook County, attended by Bank leaders from Bank of America, Citigroup, Marquette Bank, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank, Harris Bank, First Midwest Bank, United Central Bank, and Fifth Third Bank of Harvey, Illinois where the meeting was held. The featured speaker was Robin Kelly, Chief of Staff for State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who highlighted how the State Treasurer's Office has adopted a new policy of denying state deposits from going to any bank that refuses to signa new community investment pledge, and that The State Treasurer's ofice would continue it's partnership with our local banking coalition in challenging banks and credit unions with state deposits on increasing their access to capital, other banking services, and investments in grassroots community empowerment initiatives for Black and underserved poor communities. With reference toi the National Action Network'sa 12 Month Action Plan this is the latest Chicago effort on agenda items that can be measured, and I challenged the partcipants to be prepared to have another report duing the upcoming 1st National Meeting and Convention of Black Wall Street Organizations in Chicago August 20-23. We must identify a Black Wall District for The South Suburbs with these Banks partnerships!!
Dr. Shanaveon Pious CEO of Entrepreneurship University laid our a perfect outline for concrete plans to effectively put numbers of new small businesses with new job creation from grassroots businesses and these banking partnerships and models can be used as a model across the country in rebuilding new Black owned and operated small businesses in traditionally underserved communities.
Strengthening this coalition, backed by a supportive State Treasurer's Office, over 200 other local community groups, and these ministers will being forth and even more measurable movements that are going to better the overall economics of Black and poor communities. "Keeping It Real." Maybe we can get Robin Kelly and Alexi Giannoulius to even actively lobby their counterparts in other states where the National Action Network's 12 Month Action Plan is working on encouraging them on how this partnership is working.
Even The State Treasurer's officials reported that even while they invested State deposits in Shorebank and Seaway that even they do not get prompt resposes from these institutions. Far too many of us who led grassroots efforts over the years to help empower these banks, they we will not stop outr advocacy to get them to the table. These other mainstream banks can respond and particate with this Black and poor people's agenda while watching Seaway and Shorebank get a pass.