OCC creates roundtable focused on reducing barriers to credit, capital

A roundtable comprising leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, business, and technology was convened Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to promote financial inclusion through greater access to credit and capital, the OCC said in a release issued the same day.

The roundtable is called Project REACh, with REACh standing for Roundtable for Economic Access and Change. The panel’s charge is to identify and reduce barriers that prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the nation’s economy, the agency said.

“The recent civil unrest across our country emphasizes that too many people have been left out of our nation’s economy,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks. “While we applaud others, who have made large financial contributions to address immediate needs, Project REACh will focus on policy and structural changes that can help more people participate in our economy and prosper in the same way so many others have.”

Brooks, the agency’s chief operating officer, became acting comptroller with the June departure of Joseph Otting, who left the top OCC post in late May after serving as comptroller for only 29 months. That was two days after the OCC issued the first rewrite of the agency’s rules under the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) joined the OCC in issuing the proposed rule, neither the FDIC nor the Federal Reserve participated in issuing the final rule.

In its release Friday, the OCC said the panel’s July 10 meeting was held to begin identifying projects the group will undertake. Joining Brooks in the inaugural meeting were:

  • Brian Argrett, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), City First Bank of DC
  • Faith Bautista, President and CEO, National Asian American Coalition
  • Dr. John Boyd, President and Founder, National Black Farmers Association
  • Kara Brewer Boyd, President, Association of American Indian Farmers
  • Wayne Bradshaw, President and CEO of Broadway Federal Bank
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Operation HOPE
  • Ramiro A. Cavazos, President and CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup
  • Dante Desiderio, Executive Director of NAFOA
  • Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP
  • Kenneth Lin, Founder and CEO of Credit Karma
  • Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League
  • Gordon Smith, Co-President and Chief Operating Officer of JPMorgan Chase
  • Steve Steinour, Chairman, President and CEO of Huntington Bank
  • Jin Sung, Chair of the National Diversity Coalition
  • John Taylor, President and Founder, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
  • Laurie Vignaud, President and CEO, Unity National Bank
  • Michael Weinbach, CEO of Consumer Lending, Wells Fargo

OCC Announces Project REACh to Promote Greater Access to Capital and Credit for Underserved Populations