Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BREAKING: Two Largest Cities in United States Simultaneously Adopt Responsible Banking Ordinances

May 15, 2012

David Graham-Caso
213.393.9196 (cell)

Two Largest Cities in United States Simultaneously Adopt Responsible Banking Ordinances
Councilmember Richard Alarcón’s 2009 Motion Leads National Movement Toward Banking Accountability

(LOS ANGELES, CA) – City Councils in Los Angeles and New York City today simultaneously adopted similar Responsible Banking Ordinances, becoming the latest victories in a nationwide movement toward improved banking accountability.  The Los Angeles ordinance, authored by Councilmember Richard Alarcón in 2009, began a series of local efforts to improve social responsibility in how banks operate.  Last month, Councilmember Alarcón was recognized for his leadership in the national responsible banking effort when he received the “National Community Reinvestment Award” from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“Every elected official has an obligation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested wisely – in institutions that are committed to our cities and our communities,” said Councilmember Alarcón.  “The Responsible Banking Ordinance will protect taxpayer money by allowing us to invest with better information.  We have come a long way since we first introduced the responsible banking ordinance in 2009, and I am proud to have helped achieve this victory for taxpayers in Los Angeles, and across the country.”

Councilmember Alarcón’s Los Angeles Responsible Banking Ordinance, which was approved by a unanimous vote at today’s City Council meeting, will create a public, transparent process for gathering information about banks’ history of service in communities in Los Angeles when considering which financial institutions to award future City contracts. The Ordinance would not preclude any financial institutions from doing business with the City of Los Angeles, but would rather require banks interested in doing business with the City to provide specific information about their work in Los Angeles.

The ordinance was supported as it navigated the Council committee process by a coalition of progressive and faith-based organizations, including LA Voice, OneLA – Industrial Areas Foundation, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Good Jobs LA Coalition and SEUI 721.  The groups rallied in support of the ordinance before Tuesday’s Council meeting and dozens of supporters submitted public comment at the meeting

“OneLA has worked with Councilmember Alarcón over the last three years to protect families and their homes,” said Samuel Chu, Board President of OneLA – Industrial Areas Foundation. “This Responsible Banking Ordinance is the latest critical step toward much needed public transparency and accountability.”

After Councilmember Alarcón introduced the Responsible Banking Ordinance to the Los Angeles City Council in 2009, he helped start a coordinated national effort to achieve better banking accountability by bringing the program to the National League of Cities annual conference in 2010.  Based on programs that have yielded tremendous community reinvestment in Cleveland and Philadelphia, responsible banking ordinances have recently been approved or are being considered in cities including Seattle, Berkeley, Boston, Portland, Kansas City, San Francisco, and now New York and Los Angeles. 

“Councilmember Alarcón is a true champion for community reinvestment and bank accountability,” said National Community Reinvestment Coalition President and CEO John Taylor.  “By leading the efforts to pass a responsible banking ordinance in Los Angeles, the Councilmember has stepped up and set an example for public officials at every level of government across the nation.”

The Los Angeles Responsible Banking Ordinance will now be sent to Mayor Villaraigosa for his concurrence.

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