The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA) have urged the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to require Edward Jones Bank to meet Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) assessment requirements in the St. Louis area.
NCRC and SLEHCRA made the recommendation in separate comment letters to the FDIC in response to Jones Financial Companies, L.L.L.P. ‘s application for depository insurance for their newly formed Edward Jones Bank.
NCRC and SLEHCRA identified the lack of a St. Louis assessment area as part of a troubling trend in regulation of banks that receive Industrial Loan Charters (ILC). While Jones Financial will continue to be headquartered in St. Louis County, Missouri, Edward Jones Bank will be headquartered in Salt Lake CIty and its deposit insurance application indicated that its charitable giving and community development lending from the newly chartered bank would be directed to Salt Lake County, Utah.
The supply of capital for CRA projects in the St. Louis region greatly lags the demand for such support. The same thing cannot be said about the Salt Lake City area, which is a “CRA hotspot” with a large number of banks competing for the same community development opportunities.
The NCRC and SLEHCRA comment letters to the FDIC addressed concerns about the sudden reemergence of the industrial loan charter (‘ILC’) and evidence that suggests these institutions are held to a lower standard for community reinvestment.
“While we recognize that Edward Jones Bank will technically hold its deposits in an office in Salt Lake City, Edward Jones’ real home is in St. Louis, where it keeps its headquarters and where it is a significant employer,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of NCRC. “We support the efforts of the local groups in St. Louis that are working to promote economic opportunity in their communities. The FDIC should make sure that Edward Jones Bank is held accountable to support reinvestment in its home city. The Ferguson Commission Report determined that the St. Louis metro area was one of the most racially-segregated regions in the United States, noting that African-American homeownership rates in St. Louis County were almost thirty percentage points below the rate for white households, which underscores the need for financial institutions in St. Louis to support reinvestment in the community.”
“Edward Jones is deeply rooted in the St. Louis community, so they should see the significant opportunities our region has to invest in community development and meet the credit needs of neighborhoods,” said SLEHCRA’s Co-Chair, Elisabeth Risch. “We have affordable housing projects that need capital and mortgage loan funds that need investments, likely at better rates and with a greater impact than any CRA hotspot. To overcome the decades of systemic racism and redlining still felt in St. Louis, we need companies like Edward Jones to step up and invest in communities they already call home.”