HUD, FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF ST.LOUIS REACH AGREEMENT TO INCREASE INVESTMENT IN LOW-INCOME AND MINORITY COMMUNITIES Bank to invest more than $2.5 million and open new branch
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council (EHOC), and First National Bank of St. Louis today announced an agreement that will increase the bank's commitment to minority and low-income communities. As part of the agreement, the bank will invest more than $2.5 million over four years in St. Louis City, North St. Louis County, and St. Clair County, Illinois.
The agreement comes after HUD investigated and conciliated a fair housing complaint that was filed by EHOC, a fair housing organization, alleging that the Bank failed to locate branches and provide banking services in African-American neighborhoods.
Under the agreement, First National Bank of St. Louis will finance the construction of rental housing and community development projects in African-American neighborhoods, offer affordable mortgages, and promote consumer financial literacy education.
"Families struggling to get ahead in today's tough economic climate need access to quality banking services where they live," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This settlement is an important investment in black and Hispanic communities in and around St. Louis and a responsible business practice."
The agreement also calls for the bank to conduct the following activities in St. Louis City, North St. Louis County, and Northwest St. Clair County:
Open a new bank branch in a majority African-American Census tract;
Provide $2 million in community development loans and investments;
Fund a Special Financing Program with $500,000 to provide mortgage rate discounts, down payment assistance, and closing cost assistance;
Make available Spanish language services in all branches, particularly in loan negotiations;
Increase its marketing, advertising, and outreach activities;
Invest $100,000 to provide credit counseling and financial literacy training to residents;
Offer residents free checking accounts with no fees or minimum balance; and
Provide $100,000 for fair housing and community reinvestment activities.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.