Calling for Community Reinvestment

Calling for Community Reinvestment
Urban Forum
23.07.09


At Urban Forum we, like everyone else, are worried about the recession and the impact it is having now, and in the future, on communities – particularly poorer ones.


And yet, despite the difficult times ahead, we feel there is a genuine opportunity to look beyond the immediate hardship to think about life beyond the recession.


The global financial crisis raises fundamental questions about the sort of society and institutions we want in the future and offers a chance to fundamentally change things for the better. With so much doom and gloom filling our newspapers and TV screens, we’re asking ‘how do we make sure we learn the lessons from what’s happened and not make the same mistakes again?’


The huge amount of public money put into banks to prevent them from collapsing has so far offered very little obvious benefit to citizens and communities – although we are the ones who will be paying it back. We believe things must change and that fundamental reform of the banking system is needed urgently.


We are calling on political parties, civil society groups, entrepreneurs, opinion formers and the financial services sector to embrace the concept of community reinvestment and establish a new system of banking with a social purpose. A system that offers a return on the public investment made – people-centred finance.


Find out more about our proposals in our Community Reinvestment report 


The problems we face:


Financial exclusion – eliminating the ‘poverty premium’ that low income households pay
Availability of finance to support social and community enterprise – more ‘mission related’ investment
Sustainable sources of grants for community benefit – Community reinvestment
Restore public confidence in banks and the banking sector – People-centred finance
 
What we are calling for:


A commitment to community reinvestment and to reform of the financial services sector to establish clear social purpose within the banking system
The introduction of a Community Reinvestment Act to eliminate discrimination in financial services and support community-development finance
The establishment of community reinvestment banking as a vehicle for people-centred financial services
 


What you can do to get involved?


There are several ways you can get involved and things you can do:


Lend your support – If you’re involved in a group or organisation you can sign up to/endorse the community reinvestment campaign by emailThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Sign our e-petition – calling for community reinvestment legislation to be introduced. SIGN HERE http://www.urbanforum.org.uk/community-reinvestment/sign-the-petition/


Raise the issue with your elected representatives (MPs, Councillors and MEPs) and ask them to support community reinvestment. You can find out your local MP’s details here http://www.theyworkforyou.com/. We’d also like to hear what sort of response you getThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . 


Discuss – we want to know what you and others in your area think of the proposals. Do the ideas for community reinvestment sound like a good idea or are they wide of the mark? Why not put community reinvestment on the agenda for meetings you’re holding/attending, or hold an event. You could even have a discussion over dinner. If you want we can help find someone to come and talk to you about the idea if that’s useful.


Develop the proposals – our ideas for community reinvestment are still a ‘work in progress’ and we want to debate and refine the proposals over the coming months in an open and inclusive way. How do you think the ideas could be delivered (we’ve suggested a number of possible delivery mechanisms . . . maybe you like one of these, or maybe you have another idea of your own to suggest?). How could plans for a Social Investment Bank be informed by community reinvestment principles? What could be improved? What do you like? Are there things that would be helpful to help people understand and engage with the debate?