Forum Member Actions
The nation’s largest banks have taken significant steps to support individuals, small businesses, and the broader economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Services Forum members have been a source of strength during the global health crisis and are committed to continuing their support for American consumers, businesses and communities to help build a robust, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
Members of the Financial Services Forum have supported small businesses across the country throughout the pandemic, helping provide important resources during a challenging time for many business owners and their employees.
In 2020, Forum members facilitated $69 billion in loans to nearly 850,000 small businesses through the government Paycheck Protection Program. Some details:
- 35 percent of PPP loans made by Forum members in 2020 went to small businesses in communities where a majority of the people are minorities.
- 91 percent of the PPP loans made by Forum members went to businesses with 20 or fewer employees.
- 85 percent of Forum member PPP loans were for less than $100,000.
- 54 percent of Forum member PPP loans were for less than $25,000.
- More than a quarter of the Forum member PPP loans were made in low- and moderate-income communities.
PPP loans from JPMorgan have supported 3 million workers at small businesses, including those working at Community Wellness Ventures, a mental health services company that serves children and families in Washington, D.C. The PPP loan has helped Dr. Charlayne Hayling-Williams and her husband, Dr. Rod Williams, continue to pay their counselors, social workers, psychologists and housing specialists so that they can continue to serve their community.
The majority of Citibank’s PPP loans went to small businesses in the service sector. A PPP loan from Citi helped the Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring retain teaching staff and find a way to teach students safely and retain employees. The students range in age from 2 to 19 years old. “If we hadn’t been able to receive this PPP loan, we wouldn’t be able to keep dancing,” Principal Deidre Byrne says. Learn more.
State Street is a lead sponsor of Small Business Strong, a non-profit organization helping women and minority owned small businesses navigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Small Business Strong provides expedited, pro-bono resources to small businesses ranging from access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans.
Another way Forum banks have worked to assist small businesses is by supporting financial institutions with particularly strong connections to certain local communities. Forum banks have increased their support for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) during the pandemic. CDFIs are private financial institutions that are dedicated to providing responsible, affordable lending to help low-income and typically underserved communities. From 2015 to 2020, Forum banks have invested nearly $9 billion in CDFIs. Through such assistance, Forum member banks are working to ensure that small businesses in these communities get the help they need.
Goldman Sachs last year committed $1 billion to support lending through CDFIs and other mission-driven lenders. More than 15,000 small businesses with 87,000 employees were supported just partway through the commitments. Nearly half of the initial funds went to businesses in minority communities; one-third went to those in low-income communities. Read more.
Forum members have collectively committed billions of dollars to communities in need. This aid is helping organizations and governments increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, increase access to education in the face of school closures, protect impacted small businesses and provide support to the vulnerable populations.
Financial support is being dispersed to a number of organizations and programs such as the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, the CDC Foundation, No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Relief Fund, the International Medical Corps and many other community-specific groups.
At the beginning of 2020, Morgan Stanley launched the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health to help address children’s mental health, specifically the far-reaching challenges of stress, anxiety and depression. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Morgan Stanley made an additional grant to the Child Mind Institute to provide digital mental health resources for children, adolescents and young adults, with a focus on vulnerable communities that traditionally lack access to these resources.
Among other areas of focus, the Alliance is promoting public awareness of how the COVID-19 pandemic affects children’s mental health—both now and in the long term.
In addition to providing relief to millions of customers, Wells Fargo has redirected millions of dollars from its philanthropic budget to COVID‑19 community relief efforts for the most impacted Americans. The company has worked to streamline grant making and offer highly flexible funding to nearly 1,000 nonprofits reaching more than 800 communities across the country.
The program is making a difference in helping those who need it most access small business resources, stay in their homes and obtain financial health resources. In Alabama, a $100,000 grant to the Birmingham Strong Fund is providing emergency loans to small businesses to help stabilize employment, stimulate economic vitality, and offset losses related to COVID‑19. A $100,000 grant to United Way of Greater Los Angeles has helped the group create the Pandemic Relief Fund to support vulnerable populations who are at the greatest risk of health and economic impacts in this crisis. A $160,000 grant to the Institute of Community Alliances is providing rental assistance to shelter residents across the state of Iowa.
Bank of America in 2020 announced a $1 billion, four-year commitment of additional support to help local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by the global pandemic. The programs are focused on assisting people and communities of color that have experienced a greater impact from the health crisis in areas that include:
- Virus testing, telemedicine, flu vaccination clinics, and other health services, with a special focus on communities of color.
- Partnerships with historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions in the United States for hiring, research programs, and other areas of mutual opportunity.
- Support to minority-owned small businesses, including clients and vendors.
- Career reskilling/upskilling through partnerships with high schools and community colleges.
- Operating support and investment for affordable housing/neighborhood revitalization, leveraging the company’s nearly $5 billion in Community Development Banking.
- Further recruitment and retention of teammates in low- to moderate-income and disadvantaged communities to build on work the company has already done to serve clients locally.
Forum members have been supporting their customers in a variety of ways, including by providing fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other assistance to help customers in need, with no negative credit bureau reporting for up-to-date clients.
Another key way in which large banks are serving households is the provision of safe, secure deposit accounts.
People use deposit accounts as a safe store of value during uncertain times. With general economic uncertainty and an increase in market volatility, people are relying more on safe, liquid, bank deposits as they manage a variety of near-term risks.
As people demand a safe store of value for their hard-earned money, Forum members have provided this critical service. Forum members provide depositors with a range of online services to access their deposits remotely, which are all the more valuable as people practice social distancing.
Forum members are actively helping ensure the health and well-being of their more than 750,000 employees. From special compensation awards, to additional time off, to counseling services, the nation’s largest banks have been taking significant steps to support their workforces.
Since the start of the crisis, Bank of New York Mellon has worked to support its employees and their families with a number of actions and programs. The bank has provided paid leave benefits and an Employee Assistance Program for all employees and their direct family members, including a 24/7 COVID-19 support line. It is providing enhanced U.S. healthcare coverage so that COVID-19 testing and related outpatient services are provided without any employee out-of-pocket expense. The firm has also provided a 2-for-1 match for employee donations.
Forum member institutions have been a key source of support for the economy during the pandemic. They have supported the economy in a number of important ways.
In 2020, Forum member institutions:
- Increased credit to businesses and households by $785 billion to nearly $8.3 trillion.
- Helped raise $2.2 trillion in corporate bonds and $339 billion in equity through the third quarter for U.S. companies, allowing them to continue to pay their workers, operate their businesses and meet their funding needs. This capital raising by large banks fulfills a critical need in the economy to connect savers, such as pension funds and endowments, with companies like Pfizer and 3M that need to borrow capital for everyday business needs. Read more.
- Remained strong and resilient, despite the significant headwinds. The members of the Financial Services Forum in 2020 increased capital and strengthened their liquidity positions while at the same time supporting business and consumers.