Business Roundtable CEOs Reflect on the Anniversary of the Updated Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation
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The typical White family holds 8 times the wealth of the typical Black family and 5 times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. The racial wealth divide has been perpetuated and exacerbated by policies and systems that created barriers to wealth for people of color. A number of Business Roundtable member companies have taken bold, incremental steps to advance racial economic equality in areas like affordable housing, affordable lending, and minority-owned small business support. Given the scope of the racial wealth divide, meaningful progress will require corporate investment from Business Roundtable members and other companies and enabling policy reforms.

In communities of color, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) play an important role in community finance and financial inclusion. Business Roundtable remains committed to supporting CDFIs’ and MDIs’ initiatives that drive growth in their communities.

  • Business Roundtable companies are contributing grants and low-cost debt to CDFIs that are Black-led and/or serving Black communities and Latino-led and/or serving Latino communities. Business Roundtable is setting an organization-wide goal of $1 billion in support by 2025. 
  • Business Roundtable members are also setting a Roundtable-wide goal of $600 million by 2025 in financial contributions to provide vetted Black-led and Latino-led MDIs with capital and deposits.

in support by 2025

Black and Latino small business owners reached by 2025

Black and Latino small business owners use approximately 50 percent less capital to start small businesses compared to White entrepreneurs.[1] Additionally, 29 percent of Black small-business owners receive loan approvals from large banks in comparison to 60 percent and 50 percent for White and Latino owners, respectively.[2] To help Black and Latino entrepreneurs succeed in this challenging environment:

  • Business Roundtable members will provide technical assistance to Black and Latino small business owners, including ongoing mentorship and support, with a Roundtable-wide goal of reaching 50,000 Black and Latino small business owners by 2025.
  • Business Roundtable members are providing additional lending to Black and Latino small business owners and suppliers.
  • Business Roundtable members will make financial contributions to funds focused on minority-owned small businesses, such as the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and Black Vision Fund, and engage others to co-invest.

Disparities in access and usage of financial tools remain a barrier to building greater financial health and security. There are 8.4 million unbanked and 11.4 million underbanked households in the United States. Seventeen percent of Black households and 14 percent of Latino are unbanked versus 3 percent of White households. Eighteen percent of Black households and 15 percent of Latino remain underbanked versus 6 percent of White households.

  • Business Roundtable members in financial services are reaching more unbanked/underbanked Black and Latino households by offering and promoting low-/no-cost bank products (checking, savings and credit building) with features designed to meet the needs of Black and Latino Americans.
  • Business Roundtable members in financial services are working to move customers from credit invisible to credit scorable, consistent with the goals outlined through the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Project REACh.
  • Business Roundtable financial institutions are developing and adopting product innovations to increase access to credit, such as small dollar loans and starter products, that would support responsible credit building. These efforts would be enhanced through legislative and regulatory initiatives that are needed to provide additional clarity to support these innovation efforts. 
  • Business Roundtable endorses workplace financial wellness programs, focused particularly on helping low- to moderate-income employees weather income volatility and build wealth. 

million unbanked or underbanked U.S. households

In today’s economy, portable benefits can complement employer-provided benefits systems and extend benefits to more workers, particularly those in nontraditional work arrangements. The benefits would be connected to the individual. Business Roundtable supports legislation to pilot portable benefits tied to and that move with the worker regardless of employer.

Black and Latino families are five times less likely to receive large gifts and inheritances and are less likely to have emergency savings than White counterparts. To help address these issues, Business Roundtable recommends policies that address the wealth and savings gap, including: 

  • Some experts have proposed giving newborns a trust (“baby bonds”), which can grow over time and eventually enable homeownership and education. Yearly contributions would be made to a federally insured, interest-bearing account, with contribution amounts determined by household income. Congress should consider piloting a federal program to test the effectiveness of baby bonds.  
  • Congress should consider legislation providing tax credits for emergency savings.
  • Congress should also consider federal incentives for states to enact the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which is intended to better preserve and protect property ownership.
  • Federal policy plays a critical role in addressing racial inequities in small business growth. Given the scale and scope of the inequities, the private sector alone cannot close these gaps; indeed, the Small Business Administration also has a critical role to play. Small Business Administration (SBA) reforms are, therefore, needed to ensure better alignment of products and services to meet the needs of Black and Latino borrowers. Additional aid for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, such as an extension of the SBA’s Community Advantage Recovery Loans, is also critically needed. 
  • Given the important role CDFIs play in community finance and financial inclusion, the federal government should increase the federal CDFI fund from $250 million to $1 billion, including a carve-out for Black-led CDFIs. 

Sources:

[1] McKinsey Article – COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States; AEO, Federal Reserve; Kauffman; JPMC; Small Business Credit Survey 2016

[2] McKinsey Article – COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States; AEO, Federal Reserve; Kauffman; JPMC; Small Business Credit Survey 2016