On October 30, 2007, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing to review “the role of minority-owned financial institutions.” My organization has been researching women- and minority-owned banks and thrifts since 1989. We feel minority banks, specifically African-American banks, need one thing and one thing only: Capital. That regulators do not recognize this is indicative of their decidedly lax approach to the sector. It also suggests that they may not be meeting their responsibilities under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, which requires regulators to take steps to preserve minority banks. Banking is a field that depends upon precise numerical data, but federal banking regulators do not have a valid estimate of the number of minority banks in the U.S. According to our data, by June, 2007, there were 225 minority owned banks and thrifts in the U.S., up from 190 at the end of 2005.
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