News Release 2006-58 | May 18, 2006

Statement of Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan Following Tour of Chicago Community Development Projects

WASHINGTON – Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan issued the following statement following a tour of community development projects in Chicago yesterday:

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the opportunity I get to see how national banks make a difference in their communities.  Yesterday, I visited Chicago's west side and saw a number of housing and community development projects that are contributing to the vitality and economic well-being of their neighborhoods – thanks in large measure to involvement by national banks.

This trip highlighted in a very visible way the important role that national bank Part 24 public welfare investment authority plays in local communities. Community-based organizations have partnered with national banks in a number of key projects in the near west side to create affordable housing using Low Income Housing Tax Credits in which banks are major investors.

Banks have also provided significant funding for ICNC's Fulton Carroll Center, which provides space and business assistance that has helped spur the formation of over 200 businesses and create more than 1,600 jobs.

The community development projects I saw in Chicago represent only a small piece of what national banks have accomplished under Part 24.  Over the last decade, national banks have invested more than $15 billion to build affordable housing, create jobs in low-income communities, and revitalize neighborhoods across the country.

Congress is now considering regulatory relief legislation that would expand the ability of banks to invest under Part 24, and what I saw today gives me confidence that national banks would use that added authority to fill needs that might otherwise go unmet.  I strongly support this increased authority as a way to bring billions more to projects like these all over the country, and I hope any final legislation approved by Congress includes this provision.

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