Equitable access to high-quality financial services is a fundamental right. However, the U.S. financial sector functions largely to extract wealth from public budgets and our communities, particularly communities of color, especially through debt instruments and speculation. The sector works to concentrate wealth in the hands of a relatively small group of billionaires and centimillionaires, who use their financial power to manipulate the political system to benefit their interests.
Financial services companies like banks, wealth managers, and mutual fund companies have engaged in exclusionary practices such as redlining and excluding low-income BIPOC people from access to basic banking services in their communities. The sector also engages in predatory inclusion that strips wealth from BIPOC communities, like siting check-cashing businesses in BIPOC neighborhoods and targeting Black and Brown folks for predatory products like cryptocurrencies and the risky subprime mortgages that led to the 2008 financial crash. The financial sector also profits from investing and propping up companies engaging in harmful practices, such as the gas and oil industry and prison and policing profiteers.
At ACRE, we are working to build a financial system in which high-quality financial services are provided to communities and municipalities by publicly-owned and -controlled utilities that are run in the public interest. We fight for a financial system in which consumers and public governments have adequate regulatory protection from predatory actors.
Related reports & projects:
- Watch ACRE’s Deputy Political Director, Michele Gilliam, facilitate a July 2022 webinar—co-hosted by AFR and Take On Wall Street—exposing the predatory harms of the crypto industry, puncturing the myths of crypto as a path toward closing the racial wealth gap, and offering alternatives.
- Read our May 2021 report about how big banks prey on vulnerable consumers and municipalities and how to find and invest in alternatives: Breaking Up With Bad Banks: How Wall Street Makes It Hard to Leave Them – and How We Say Goodbye