Shelterforce: NCRC Claims KeyBank Broke Promises, Failed Black Homeowners

Shelterforce, February 24, 2023, NCRC Claims KeyBank Broke Promises, Failed Black Homeowners

When KeyBank sought to acquire Buffalo-based First Niagara, which would make it one of the nation’s largest banks, it not only had to prove to banking regulators that the merger was sound, it also had to win over local and national advocates.

The result was a landmark agreement in 2016 that was expected to bring billions of dollars in investments to low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. Dozens of community groups and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)—an association of 700-plus community-based organizations and lenders—had negotiated a $16.5 billion community benefits agreement with KeyBank executives, the largest at the time by a single bank.

Community benefits agreements, or CBAs, are agreements—ideally formal contracts—in which real estate developers and financial institutions promise to provide specific amenities to a community to get buy-in for a project.

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