Recent initiatives include expanding a collaboration with CDFIs to invest in developers of color and the creation of Business Access Advisors and Access Home.
In 2021, U.S. Bank launched U.S. Bank Access Commitment™, a long-term approach to help build wealth while redefining how we serve racially diverse communities and provide more opportunities for employees.
U.S. Bank started with the Black community, because that is where the persistent racial wealth gap in the United States is the largest (Federal Reserve, 2019). The company has been focused on helping families thrive, businesses grow and communities to prosper across the country. Highlights from the past 12 months alone include:
- Expanding a collaboration with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)s to invest in developers of color. KMW Communities, which is developing low- and moderate-income housing across Chicago, knows firsthand the important role CDFIs play.
- Investing tax credits in three Black-led developments in the Twin Cities, including The Hollows – a four-story, 62-unit affordable housing project in the Swede Hollow neighborhood of St. Paul that is transforming a location that has sat vacant since 1996.
- Announced the creation of Business Access Advisors, a collaborative approach between U.S. Bank business banking teams and partners in communities across the country to work alongside minority-owned businesses to address prominent gaps that limit business growth and employment opportunities. The program already has received recognition from the Arkansas District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which selected U.S. Bank as the Equity Advancement Lender for fiscal year 2022 with the largest percentage of small business loans to Black-owned businesses.
- Continued to build on its $450,000 investment in the Atlanta-based Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), the largest business incubation hub in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to developing Black entrepreneurs.
- Introduced U.S. Bank Access Home, an initiative focused on removing of historical barriers to homeownership in the Black community. Outreach efforts include working with the nonprofit Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids in Little Rock, Arkansas, to hold a series of lively dinner conversations with U.S. Bank volunteers focused on topics like how to build a financial legacy. The company also hired a cohort to Black mortgage loan officers who will serve diverse communities across the country to help demystify the process.
- Created the U.S. Bank Access Commitment Advisory Group, composed of Black business and community leaders, to help increase transparency and accountability with diverse segments of the local Black community in the Twin Cities.
- Invested in the revitalization of Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District through a public/private partnership called Destination Crenshaw that aims to create a vibrant corridor of Black culture.
- The U.S. Bank Access Fund, which was created in 2021 to support women of color-owned microbusiness owners, continues to have an impact – such as helping a former bus driver in South Los Angeles expand her fresh salad business and providing technical assistance to an owner of an African market in Tempe, Arizona.