NCRC And Santander US Unveil New Community Plan


Community Plan includes investments in small businesses and community development, affordable housing, sustainable finance, and broad support for charitable giving and volunteerism.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and Santander Holdings USA, Inc. (Santander US) today announced the bank’s latest Community Plan, a three-year commitment of $4.6 billion in community reinvestment and $9 billion in sustainable finance, on behalf of Santander’s businesses across the United States, which will provide broad commitments for community development for affordable housing, small business, sustainable finance and supplier diversity, as well as $100 million in charitable giving and 100,000 employee volunteer hours.

The Santander US Community Plan was developed in partnership with NCRC, which led forums with over 30 community-based organizations.

“NCRC and our 750-plus member organizations work with banks across the United States to advance a more just banking model,” said Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “When bank leaders and community organizations can sit down together, listen to one another and craft plans that promote a more equitable economic reality on the ground, everybody wins. Our members have been able to work with the company’s leadership to help shape the Santander US Community Plan to maximize Santander’s impact and advance our shared goal of helping communities prosper.”

Since 2016, NCRC has facilitated 27 community benefits agreements with bank groups that committed more than $574 billion for mortgage, small business and community development lending, investments and philanthropy in LMI and under-resourced communities.

“Our latest plan builds upon our long track record of investing in our communities, including small businesses, affordable housing and underserved communities. This new plan increases our commitments to affordable housing, while adding sustainable finance and supplier diversity commitments,” Santander US CEO Tim Wennes said. “The Santander US Community Plan is another example of Santander’s ongoing commitment to sustainable solutions and helping communities prosper for generations to come.”

Over the next three years, Santander US is committing:

  • $1.5 billion in small business lending
  • $3 billion in community development lending and investments, with more than $2.5 billion in affordable housing
  • $9 billion in sustainable finance investment, with a focus on renewable energy
  • 100% increase in direct supplier diversity spending
  • $100 million in charitable giving to nonprofit organizations
  • 100,000 employee volunteer hours in underserved communities

As part of the plan, Santander US’ National Community Advisory Board (CAB) will advise the company on community development and ensure ongoing input on the plan’s goals and commitments. CAB members include nonprofit leaders, including community development and policy organizations and financial inclusion advocates, as well as representatives of economic development and housing agencies.

The following NCRC member organizations signed on to the new Santander Community Plan:

  • Ceiba
  • Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Inc.
  • Central Baptist Community Development Corporation
  • Chinatown Community Land Trust
  • Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Community First Fund
  • Lawrence CommunityWorks
  • Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF)
  • Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC, Inc.
  • New Jersey Citizen Action
  • Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley 
  • Renaissance Economic Development Corporation
  • South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation
  • Sociedad Latina 
  • Southwest (Philadelphia) Community Development Corporation
  • Spanish American Civic Association

“I’m excited to see the continuation of the partnership between Santander and NCRC community groups to address the needs of low- and moderate-income families by enhancing their access to banking services and by connecting neighborhood-based organizations with additional funding, financing and other supports,” said Will Gonzalez, NCRC Board Member and Executive Director of Ceiba.

“The support of Santander Bank has been critical for the growth of our technical assistance to BIPOC small businesses in Massachusetts,” said Gerardo Espinoza, Executive Director of LEAF. “We are very grateful.” 

“In embracing this kind of accountability at the state level, Santander evidences a deep commitment to equitable community development in Massachusetts and sets an example for the entire industry,” said Kevin Murray, Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations.

“During these times of uncertainty within the banking industry, it is critically important that stakeholders commit to working together to ensure that banks are investing in our communities equitably and effectively, especially underserved, low- and moderate-income, and communities of color,” said Leila Amirhamzeh, Director of Community Reinvestment for New Jersey Citizen Action. “New Jersey Citizen Action looks forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Santander, and to helping the bank fulfill its commitment to New Jersey communities, and communities throughout their footprint.”

Santander US, through Santander Bank, previously invested $14 billion in community development and investments across the bank’s retail footprint from 2017-2021, including $12.1 billion in lending and $1.9 billion in investments to underserved communities, as well as $57 million in grants and more than 65,000 volunteer hours. Santander US consistently receives top rankings as a leader in renewable project finance and received “Deal of the Year” awards in 2021 for Vineyard Wind, the largest offshore wind farm in the US.

Santander US will release its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report in the coming weeks. In the meantime, read more about Santander US’ 2021 highlights in the 2021 ESG report.

Summary of the Community Benefits Plan Agreed Between the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and Santander US

In a renewal of its 2017 Inclusive Communities Plan, Santander US (Santander) commits to provide $4.6 billion in community development lending and investments over the three-year plan period from 2023 – 2025. In addition, Santander is committing $9 billion to sustainable finance during the plan term. Santander US is comprised of several businesses including Santander Bank, N.A. (Santander Bank), and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (SC).

Small Business Lending and Entrepreneurship

Commitment: $1.5 billion in small business loans of $1 million or less, including $500 million in LMI communities.

Santander will work with its Community Advisory Board and community partners to explore developing a Special Purpose Credit Program and/or small business loan offering focused on LMI small businesses and participants in its Cultivate Small Business program. Santander Bank will maintain its small business loans and lines of credit starting at $10,000. 

Santander will continue its Cultivate Small Business program across six or more core Santander US Markets. This program focuses on woman-, immigrant-, and minority-owned businesses with free training, mentorship, coaching and capital of grants up to $20,000 per business, aiming to support approximately 180 early-stage entrepreneurs per year (30 per location) with revenues of $25,000 to $1 million during the course of the plan. Santander US will maintain its annual investment of $600,000 in capital grants to the participating entrepreneurs.

Community Development Lending and Investments

Commitment: $1.8 billion in community development lending and $1.2 billion in equity investments over the three-year plan term.

To ensure continued engagement in the CD lending and investment community across Santander’s footprint, Santander will continue to leverage its existing team of Community Partnership Managers (CPMs) to complement the CDF team’s engagement with community partners and other related business line activity. 

Santander is targeting more than $1.5 billion in affordable housing lending across its footprint during the plan. Additional areas of focus for Santander’s community development lending will be minority-led CDCs and developers; working with CDFIs to offer flexible loan structures to facilitate access to capital for underserved borrowers; and responsible multifamily housing. Equity investments will include affordable housing LIHTC investments, New Markets Tax Credit Investments, and Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) investments.

Philanthropy & Community Service

Commitment: Santander US commits $100 million in charitable giving from 2023-2025. The bank intends to contribute approximately $13.5 million annually and the Santander Consumer USA Foundation (Foundation) will contribute approximately $20 million annually. 

Santander’s $13.5 million in annual giving will focus on CRA eligible investments to community based nonprofit organizations across its assessment areas focused on LMI and marginalized communities (groups that have historically and/or currently experience discrimination, exclusion and disinvestment), as well as programs addressing community development needs. The focus areas will continue to be affordable housing, small business and economic development, financial education and down payment assistance, workforce development, youth development programs, neighborhood revitalization, disaster relief, community services and other racial equity and social justice programs.

Santander will partner with NCRC and community partners to explore expanding upon current innovative programming through anchor institutions, such it is currently doing in Boston with the Boston Medical Center, and will explore expanding its work with CDCs and healthcare centers in markets across its footprint, including Philadelphia, to address the social detriments of health as it relates to financial mobility, housing and wellness.

Supplier Diversity

Santander US is committed to expanding its program by increasing Tier 1 procurement spending by 100% over the course of the plan. Santander US is also focused on doubling the number of certified diverse suppliers registered as a supplier by Santander US.

Statewide Increases

The plan increases small business lending, community development loans and investments, and CRA-eligible philanthropy across the bank’s footprint. In cases where a state does not experience a comparable increase relative to the national increase in small business lending, community development loans and investments, and CRA-eligible philanthropy, the bank will seek to address opportunities with the CAB and NCRC to develop a roadmap to increase lending and/or other community development activities within that state.

Sustainable Finance

Commitment: $9 billion in sustainable finance activity. 

Globally, Santander Group seeks to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across the Santander Group by 2050, in alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and Santander’s commitments as a founding member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance. Santander US has adopted the Sustainable Finance Classification System (SFCS), which establishes a transparent methodology for categorizing and reporting on sustainable products and services.

Santander US commits $3 billion in Sustainable Finance activity annually. This activity will focus on renewable energy generation and storage through support of wind, solar and battery projects in the US. Santander US will continue to explore expansion of consumer and commercial green finance opportunities, including electric vehicle finance, green new construction, consumer solar and other activities aligned to the SFCS.

Plan Implementation & Accountability

Santander US will measure performance against the Plan and provide state level reporting at least twice annually to the CAB. In addition, Santander US will also report progress on the Plan in Santander US’ Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Report.

Santander US will provide state level reporting for small business lending, community development lending and investments, philanthropy and volunteering.

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