CHICAGO – Speaking ahead of a joint hearing of several Illinois Senate economic committees Friday, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) called out structural racism in banking and said urgent change is needed to undo multi-generational barriers that now see Black families in Chicago less likely to own homes than they were before the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968.

“This is what systemic racism looks like and is reminiscent of the notorious era of redlining, the racially discriminatory policy that blocked Blacks from all legitimate means of obtaining a mortgage and opened the door for their exploitation and abuse by the housing, banking and mortgage industry,” said Collins, who chairs the Senate Financial Institutions Committee.

The Senate Financial Institutions, Commerce and Economic Development, Executive, and Local Government Committees comprised the joint hearing Thursday. The subject matter focused on the vast disparity in access to banking services between white and Black Illinoisans. The joint hearing is part of an ongoing series organized by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, with other hearings focusing on criminal justice, education and health care as part of the caucus’ efforts to build a specific legislative agenda leading into the upcoming fall session in Springfield.

Collins cited recent reporting by WBEZ that showed banks in Chicago lend just $0.12 to Black neighborhoods for every dollar they spend in white neighborhoods. For some lenders, that disparity is even more jaw-dropping: JP Morgan Chase, for instance, gave out 41 times the amount of money in home loans to white neighborhoods that it did to Black neighborhoods, according to the report.

“As the Kerner report stated more than 52 years ago, these embedded forms of racial discrimination were created by white institutions, are maintained by white institutions and are condoned by white society,” Collins said. “Now is the time for transparency, equity, accountability and transformational change.”

You can read Senator Collins full remarks below:

Racism is real and it is systemic racism that has allowed institutions to erect the social and economic barriers that continue to undergird and support the discriminatory practices and policies that preserve inequality. And there is no greater example of where this inequity, this economic violence and this insidious pattern of disinvestment persists than in the banking industry.

These disparities are not accidental but multi-generational. According to Bishop Horace E. Smith and Cardinal Blasé CupichThey are the inevitable outcomes of systems designed through hostility or neglect to make it harder for Black Americans to flourish or even to survive.” This is the reason for the ever-expanding wealth and homeownership gap between white and black families which is greater today than it was before the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

This stark reality was revealed in a new analysis by WBEZ and the non-profit newsroom City Bureau that showcased the gaping disparities in the amount of money lent in Chicago’s white neighborhoods compared to Black and Latino areas. Some of the findings include:

Lenders invested more money in majority-white Lincoln Park than they did

in all of Chicago’s majority-black neighborhoods combined.

For every $1 banks loaned in Chicago’s white neighborhoods, they invested just 12 cents in the city’s black neighborhoods.

The gap in home purchase lending was even wider for some of the city’s largest lenders.

JPMorgan Chase, for instance, lent 41 times more money in white neighborhoods than black neighborhoods. That means for every dollar the bank loaned in white neighborhoods, it invested just 2.4 cents in the city’s black communities.

This was the case even though Chase has two branches in Chatham that hold a total of $80 million, but from 2012 through 2018, the bank made just 23 home purchase loans there. That is roughly three loans per year in the historically middle class black neighborhood.

Bank of America lent 29 times more money in Chicago’s white communities that it did in black communities.

Wells Fargo lent 10 times more in white areas than black:

The city’s largest home purchase lender, Guaranteed Rate, lent 15 times more in Chicago’s white communities than its black communities.

This is what systemic racism looks like and is reminiscent of the notorious era of redlining, the racially discriminatory policy based on “a system of maps that rated neighborhoods according to their perceived stability.” Areas free of any “foreigner or Negro” was rated an “A” and shaded green. Neighborhoods with black populations were colored red and rated “D.” Neighborhoods in the red zones were denied FHA backed mortgages. This discriminatory policy blocked blacks from all legitimate means of obtaining a mortgage and opened the door for their exploitation and abuse by the housing, banking and mortgage industry.

As the Kerner report stated more than 52 years ago, these embedded forms of racial discrimination were created by white institutions, are maintained by white institutions and are condoned by white society. Today “we are in the midst of a national reckoning on race and words are not enough” because this data tells the true story. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Some [may be] guilty, but all are responsible. That is why we are here today to call for action that is 400 years long-overdue. Now is the time for transparency, equity, accountability and transformational change.

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