News Release 2006-55 | May 3, 2006

Comptroller Dugan Underscores Banks' Responsibility To Serve Credit Needs of All Community Members

WASHINGTON – Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan told a community development economic summit that banks and other lenders have a responsibility to serve the credit needs of all members of the communities in which they establish branches, including low- and moderate-income communities.

“Using the national bank community development investment authority, we will continue to work with banks to identify opportunities for investments, loans, and services that will mature community development in locales such as Anacostia,” Mr. Dugan said in a speech to the Anacostia Economic Summit sponsored by the District of Columbia and Project HOPE.  “And we’re talking about real money here:  During the past decade banks have invested more than $15 billion in such projects nationwide.  We will continue to encourage such investments within the appropriate framework of responsible risk management.”

Mr. Dugan said that he believes in the importance of residents holding a financial stake in the redevelopment of their communities as homeowners and small business owners.  That kind of rebirth also happens to be very good for national banks, because it nurtures a growing and economically prosperous customer base, he said.

Mr. Dugan applauded the contributions of community development organizations because they help facilitate a growing investment of capital into neighborhoods, which he hopes and believes is the broadly participatory neighborhood renewal of the future.

“There are partnerships on the ground here in Anacostia that are focused on the economic potential of this community—to ensure that the potential is recognized and realized,” Mr. Dugan said.  “As a Washington DC, native, I’m proud to see that Anacostia, long neglected and overlooked, is attracting renewed attention as a prime candidate for economic expansion by business, government, and the nonprofits.”

Mr. Dugan concluded his address by stating that investment of any kind is rarely without risk.

“In our experience, however, the odds of successfully investing in community development are dramatically increased when there are genuine community-based and community-accountable partnerships in place to drive investments from vision to reality, from blueprint to ribbon-cutting,” he said.

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