FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2001
Contact: Robert M. Garsson
Comptroller Hawke Praises Community Development Lenders
WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke, Jr. said today that community development organizations, through hard work and resourcefulness, have passed a critical turning point that ensures their future success in both good economic times and bad.
"Community development activities will continue to thrive even during difficult times as long as banks and their partners work together, pooling resources and expertise in an integrated and targeted approach to the business," he said in a speech to the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.
The Comptroller said there has been a philosophical shift among banks active in community development lending. Today, he said, most see community development lending as good business, rather than a legal imperative.
"Banks have increasingly found that if they structure and manage community development loans and investments, it doesn't take years before they start paying off," he said. "As neighborhoods stabilize, property values rise, residents begin to accumulate wealth, and they return with their business to the banks that helped them succeed. When banks invest in their communities, they're also investing in their own future success."
Mr. Hawke said the OCC has learned a number of important lessons about community development lending:
What's most important about these success stories, Mr. Hawke said, is that they are no longer isolated cases. "They're the expression of a trend full of promise for our needy communities," he said.
The Comptroller told the community development lenders that their work is vital. "Our communities are counting on your continued commitment to a cause so vital to their well-being — and yours," he said.
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