City Council Unanimously Passes Arroyo’s ‘Invest in Boston’ Ordinance

September 24, 2013

The Boston City Council unanimously passed City Councilor Felix Arroyo’s “Invest in Boston” ordinance on Wednesday to change the way the city does its banking to encourage community lending and spur the local economy.

“We know Boston is a prosperous city, but we know that prosperity does not reach every neighborhood,” Arroyo said. “‘Invest in Boston’ helps us bridge that divide and create real pathways out of poverty and into the middle class for all Bostonians.”

Arroyo’s ordinance changes the city’s banking practices by requiring banks to report their lending in Boston to ensure that the city invests in banks that invest back into our neighborhoods – banks that lend to small businesses, qualified home buyers and local development projects; banks that refinance loans and hire Bostonians; and financial establishments that have a plan to address the rising foreclosure rates.

“This vote means so much to the whole city,” said Heather Gordon, a member of City Life/Vida Urbana. “Our banks need to be held accountable and ‘Invest in Boston’ does that. It helps small businesses, homeowners, and it just makes sense.”

In a letter from Jay Gonzalez, who formerly served secretary of administration and finance, stated, “The concept of the city leveraging its purchasing power to not only obtain the specific goods or services being sought but also to further other public policy objectives is one I personally support, and the public policy objective of community development and investment is certainly an important one for the City of Boston.”

“Invest in Boston” was also supported by a host of organizations including Community Labor United, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, NAACP, SEIU Local 23BJ, ESAC Boston and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.

Leading up to the vote, Arroyo held town-hall meetings in Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park and Brighton as well as an official City Council hearing in the past month to ensure community input.

“We want our small businesses to grow and flourish,” Arroyo said. “We want to encourage home ownership and create jobs for Bostonians. ‘Invest in Boston’ helps accomplish that and I am proud that we passed it today.”

Similar responsible banking ordinances have passed in other major cities, including

New York and Los Angeles.

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