FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Why should banks become members of
A. For bankers doing business in Greater Boston, membership in
help enhance their bank’s community reinvestment programs by:
- Providing opportunities for bank officers to meet regularly with
other area bankers and community representatives. Bankers who attend MCBC committee meetings
get to hear other banks talk about their community investment programs and get to listen to
the concerns and recommendations of community advocates, all in a low-key, collegial
setting. A great opportunity to trade business cards and build relationships.
- Keeping bank officers informed about state and local community
development programs. Representatives from state and municipal programs; public,
quasi-public and regulatory agencies; and community-based organizations are regularly
invited to speak at MCBC committee meetings. Bankers who attend committee meetings, or who
just receive committee minutes, can hear first hand about program changes, new initiatives
and community investment opportunities.
- Supporting MCBC’s research on mortgage and small business
lending patterns in Greater Boston. MCBC’s annual reports – Patterns of Small
Business Lending, Changing Patterns and Borrowing Trouble? – provide bankers and
community-based organizations with solid, detailed information on lending patterns,
including the performance of other lenders. Small and medium-sized banks especially
appreciate the availability of comparable data, minus the cost of an internal CRA research
- Providing bank officers with information on emerging community
development issues. Bankers and community representatives both use MCBC’s committee
meetings as a place to raise new concerns, to compare local experiences and to share
information on successful strategies. Bankers who participate find MCBC’s committees a
place for one-stop shopping for information on emerging issues.
- Lending assistance to important community development initiatives
such as “Don’t Borrow Trouble” and Basic Banking for
Massachusetts. Programs developed jointly by bankers and community
advocates take the guess work out of trying to figure out how to respond to important
community development issues like predatory lending and low-cost accounts.
- Getting CRA credit for MCBC membership. The Massachusetts
Commissioner of Banks has determined that membership dues to MCBC are a qualified investment
under the state’s CRA statute. In-kind contributions to MCBC, including the provision of
technical assistance and expertise to MCBC’s committees, are also a qualified community
Q. Isn’t MCBC focused on just Boston issues?
A. No. MCBC’s reports have been expanded to include
lending data in all cities
and towns in Greater Boston. MCBC’s committee activities include
speakers from statewide organizations and agencies and from municipalities outside Boston and committee
discussions cover issues that are common to all communities. MCBC also sponsors two statewide programs:
“Don’t Borrow Trouble” and Basic Banking for Massachusetts.
More than 50% of MCBC bank members are headquartered outside of Boston.
Q. How is MCBC funded?
A. MCBC’s core activities are supported solely by annual
dues payments from
member banks. MCBC’s dues levels are on a sliding scale, based on asset
size. MCBC bank directors also provide in-kind assistance to MCBC in the form of mailings and meeting
facilities. In limited cases, MCBC will seek outside funding for special projects. For MCBC’s
“Don’t Borrow Trouble” campaign, funding and in-kind contributions were provided by
Freddie Mac, the Massachusetts Bankers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Q. How can member banks participate in MCBC
A. Member banks are invited to sign up bank officers for any or
all of MCBC
committees, depending on the bank’s areas of interest. Officers can also elect
just to receive committee minutes and mailings. Bank members receive copies of all MCBC reports and
publications. All bank members are invited to attend MCBC’s annual meeting and are eligible to
vote for MCBC’s Board of Directors.
Q. What are the specific issues that MCBC is
A. The membership of each of MCBC’s committees determines
issues to be addressed. Some issues, like mortgage lending patterns and Basic
Banking, receive on-going attention. Other issues come out of concerns brought to the
table by bankers and/or community representatives. MCBC’s “Don’t Borrow Trouble”
campaign, for example, originated from problems first identified by local foreclosure prevention
counselors. This year, MCBC’s Affordable Housing Committee has elected to focus on the issue of
affordable housing development in the suburbs.
Q. Does MCBC take advocacy
A. Occasionally, MCBC will take a position on certain issues
and/or legislation of
critical importance. MCBC’s support for a particular position
originates from a vote by members of a MCBC committee which is then reviewed and voted by MCBC’s
Board of Directors.
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