Woodstock Institute presented its 2017 Community Investment Award to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) at its annual reception on May 18 in Chicago. Woodstock president Dory Rand presented the award to NCRC “for its extraordinary leadership in building the strength of NCRC members and negotiating significant Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) agreements with Key Bank, Huntington Bank, and Fifth Third Bank.” NCRC Chief Operations Officer Jesse Van Tol, who led NCRC members in negotiating those agreements totaling over $62.6 billion in lending, investments, and services, accepted the award on behalf of NCRC. He spoke to the audience of community leaders, bankers, regulators, and friends about the threats we face in the new “deregulatory” environment and how we must band together to protect the progress we have made and make our financial system more fair and inclusive.

City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers kicked off a storytelling segment on CRA and lauded Woodstock Institute’s work to promote lending and investments in underserved communities and to protect low- and moderate-income people and communities of color from predatory consumer and small business lending. Treasurer Summers mentioned his office’s work with Woodstock on the Small Business Lending Act in 2016, and noted that even though the measure did not yet pass the legislature, it already moved some industry members to adopt better standards for disclosure of fees and terms and better underwriting for the borrowers’ ability to repay. The Treasurer also said that when he needs to learn more or take a position on financial services issues, he always asks first, “What is Woodstock’s position on this?”

Ted Wysocki, a former protégé of the great Gale Cincotta, the Chicago “mother” of CRA, shared a story about talking with top government leaders at the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board who didn’t know what the CRA is (that was decades ago)! Beth Witczak of The PrivateBank shared some stories about CRA, including one about how Gale Cincotta always wore the same red jacket to negotiations and protests. Incoming Board Chair Professor George Lipsitz of University of California, Santa Barbara, shared his insights on CRA to wrap up the CRA segment.

Woodstock Board Development Chair and consultant Gordon Mayer welcomed everyone and outgoing Board Chair Natalie Abatemarco of Citi provided brief comments on CRA as well. The Curtis Black Quartet enlivened the space at Roosevelt University with jazz tunes. Guests enjoyed appetizers and beverages, including beer generously donated by Revolution Brewery.

Woodstock gratefully acknowledged the many financial institutions who sponsored the awards reception and funders who support our data portal and technical assistance work, including: Huntington Bank; MasterCard; The PrivateBank; U.S. Bank; Northern Trust; Wintrust Bank; Marquette Bank; The Bog Cat Foundation; Capital One’ Chicago Community Trust; the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust; the Frank E. and Seba P. Payne Foundation; Grand Victoria Foundation; Harris Family Foundation; J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation; Polk Bros. Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; VantageScore Solutions, LLC; U.S. Bank Foundation; and Woods Fund of Chicago. Olga Lopez took the photographs.