By David Brand
New York City is depositing billions of dollars in banking behemoths that make a fraction of their mortgage loans in communities of color across the five boroughs, according to a new analysis released on Thursday.
The policy group New Economy Project examined federal mortgage data and found Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo made about $11.3 billion in home loans in New York City’s neighborhoods of color compared to more than $45.5 billion in all other neighborhoods from 2018 to 2022. The policy group specifically compared home loans in New York City ZIP codes where Black, Latino and Asian residents make up at least 70% of the population to all other ZIP codes.
The city has long deposited most of its money in these “big four” banks, despite some efforts to combat lending discrimination. The report comes as an array of public officials — including city councilmembers, the state attorney general and the head of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development — urge the city to use the billions it keeps in big banks to compel changes or create a publicly owned bank to loan in neighborhoods where major lenders rarely operate.
“I can guarantee you the city of New York has a whole lot of money in some banks,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge told affordable housing groups seeking financing in East New York last month. “We need to leverage those kinds of relationships.”
New York City holds its money in 28 approved banks selected by a commission that includes the mayor and comptroller. The average daily balance is around $12.4 billion, according to quarterly cash reports from the comptroller’s office
The city held about $554 million in JPMorgan Chase, $493 million in Bank of America and $304 million in Citibank on March 31 — about 77% of its total deposits, according to information obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.