Wave Staff Report
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, has accepted the 2023 Community Development Financial Institutions Congressional Champion Awards from the Opportunity Finance Network. The award annually honors members of Congress who have been leaders in support of the community development financial institution industry.
“It’s an honor to receive the Congressional Champion Award for my work to support community development financial institutions across the country and in my community in Los Angeles,” Waters said. “As we know, underserved communities face serious systemic challenges in the banking system, which makes the role of our nation’s community development financial institutions that much more important.
“Rest assured, I will continue fighting to support community development financial institutions so they can continue building bridges to economic stability and wealth for underserved communities.”
Over the years, Waters has led the effort to support community development financial institutions and ensure underserved people and communities across the country have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services:
After Congress passed the CARES Act in March 2020, launching the Paycheck Protection Program, Waters worked with then chair of the Small Business Committee U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-New York, to secure a $60 billion set aside for community financial institutions in the Paycheck Protection Program, including community development financial institution loan funds, to ensure diverse and truly small businesses could quickly access the relief they needed to keep their doors open and survive.
In December 2020, Waters and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, worked together to secure $12 billion in capital investments and grants for community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions to allow them to expand and provide the support that all communities deserve, including to small businesses and businesses owned by people of color, which were the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Congress, the House passed Waters’ bill entitled “Promoting and Advancing Communities of Color Through Inclusive Lending Act” as part of a broader package of racial economic justice reforms and will reintroduce this bill again this Congress. If enacted, the bill would authorize $4 billion in additional capital, grants, technology support and other reforms to support community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions.
Waters also worked with Sen. Warner to send a letter to the Government Accountability Office, requesting a study to identify the technology needs that community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions have and policy options to address those challenges, and along with several other colleagues, a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging them to ensure that investments through the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund are administered in a way that collaborates with and empowers community financial institutions to ensure that clean energy investments are being made in underserved communities, especially communities of color.