In a recent editorial, the Riverdale Press reminds us all of the context that the Community Reinvestment Act emerged out of in the Bronx. In recent weeks, the 1977 legislation has come under repeated attack by conservative commentators for our recent financial woes. Fortunately, publication after publication have come out in defense of CRA as a tool to end the practice of redlining, where banks refused to make loans in certain neighborhoods, usually on the basis of race or class.
The Riverdale Press editorial forcefully documents the context here in the northwest Bronx in the years leading up to CRA by quoting Jill Jonnes:
- In 1965, banks wrote 298 new mortgages in the Northwest Bronx; 10 years later the total was 44.
- Eastern Savings Bank granted 59 new mortgages and refinanced 63 in 1965; 10 years later, it made one new mortgage and refinanced two.
- North Side Savings, headquartered at West 231st Street and Broadway and holding $200 million in deposits from the Northwest Bronx, granted only a single mortgage in its own community in 1975.