Financial Services and the Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity


Historically, financial institutions in the United States have not served people of color effectively or fairly. Even today, people of color have less access to credit, pay higher interest rates for loans, and are less likely to receive venture capital funding as compared to their White counterparts. Serving these markets effectively is not only a moral imperative, but also an economic opportunity to enhance a company’s bottom line.

A follow-up to The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity, developed in partnership with FSG, this report highlights specific action steps leading companies in the financial sector have taken to create business value by using credit, savings, and investment products to address the unique challenges faced by communities of color. The companies featured in this report—Citi, Oportun, OneUnited Bank, Prudential Financial, and Impact America Fund—have found competitive advantage through their strategies to serve consumers who have historically been excluded.

Top Takeaways

  1. With a deeper understanding of the impacts of structural racism, financial services companies can avoid one-size-fits-all approaches to product and service development and better serve historically excluded populations of color and thus reach expanded markets.
  2. Leading financial services companies are reconceiving products and services to better meet the needs of people of color and are strengthening their external business environment by supporting public policies and norms that expand financial security.
  3. These companies also have strong internal catalysts—including a diverse employee base and a culture of inclusion—that enable them to implement strategies that advance racial equity and business growth.

Find all related material for The Corporate Racial Equity Advantage

Working with Artists to Deepen Impact


This is the first in a series of briefs that describe the changes, insights, and lessons when arts and cultural strategies are deployed in service of comprehensive community development and planning. During ArtPlace America's Community Development Investments initiative, six participating organizations developed creative placemaking projects that could help them more effectively achieve their missions. PolicyLink conducted a research and documentation project to measure the progress, immediate outcomes, and impacts of those projects. This brief examines how these organizations learned to work with artists and develop collaborative practices.

Explore more about our research and documentation project at

The Payback Problem: How Taking Parents' Child Support Payments to Pay Back the Cost of Public Assistance Harms California Low-Income Children & Families


In California last year, the state intercepted over $300 million in child support payments that should have gone to low-income children and their families. Every year, hundreds of thousands of poor children across the state receive just a fraction of the child support payments made by their parents. That’s because, despite having the fifth largest economy in the world, California takes all but the first $50 of every child support payment made to children who receive public benefits and uses it to reimburse the government for the cost of providing those benefits. This report was a collaborative effort with organizations such as the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and Western Center on Law & Poverty to raise awareness of the unfair system that deprives poor children of critical resources, particularly children of color, and lift up recommendations for reform.

The Future of Banking: Overcoming Barriers to Financial Inclusion for Communities of Color


Systemic failures in the financial sector led to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the Great Recession that followed. These crises disproportionately impacted low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities of color through job loss, foreclosures and an unprecedented loss of wealth. During the recession, Latinos’ household wealth declined by 66%, and African Americans’ by 53%, while White households lost 16%. Ten years after the financial crisis, communities of color have yet to fully recover, and the financial system has failed to solve the problems that devastated communities of color. To help the most impacted communities recover and rebuild, the banking and financial services industry must increase their focus on serving LMI households, businesses, and communities of color. This report explores key opportunities within the banking industry, policy, and regulation that can lead to financial inclusion for all.

Our Homes, Our Future: How Rent Control Can Build Stable, Healthy Communities


Amid the worst renter crisis in a generation, it is time for policymakers to respond to the call for rent control to protect renters from skyrocketing rents and displacement. Rent control has tremendous payoff: if the rent control policies being debated right now in six states and two cities become reality, 12.7 million renter households will be stabilized. If adopted by states nationwide, 42 million households could be stabilized.

Read the full report on how rent control can build stable, healthy communities.

This report was produced by a collaboration between PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Right To The City Alliance.

Sarah Treuhaft highlights key findings from the report, and speakers from Oregon and New York will discuss their local campaigns and the growing movement led by renters to push for stronger tenant protection laws. View webinar recording.