The Forum File, Edition 2

3 Mar 2021

Dear reader,

Welcome to the second edition of The Forum File. This issue, we’re highlighting how our members have been helping small businesses—from providing pro-bono resources to helping them access PPP funds. 

Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to share your feedback. 

Kevin Fromer, President and CEO, Financial Services Forum

Value Add

Member program spotlight.

State Street: Helping to Strengthen Small Businesses

No sector of our country’s economy has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic like America’s small businesses. And among this community, women and minority-owned small businesses have sadly seen even greater impacts. As spring of last year neared, most small businesses were preparing to see their enterprises flourish, hiring new employees and continuing to bring pride to their communities and regions. But unfortunately, the pandemic brought a halt to many of these plans. That is where State Street and other Massachusetts- based partners stepped in.

Launched in the spring of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, Small Business Strong is a private and public sector partnership created to help women and minority-owned small businesses navigate the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing pro-bono resources to small businesses. These services are provided by a team of dedicated functional specialists and business advisers, and range from gaining better access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans, at no cost to the small business owner

Small Business Strong also provides an online database with information and self-service resources on financing, access to federal and state loans and grants, digital transformation for small businesses, and much more.

With services available in both English and Spanish, the initiative includes additional local partners, such as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Bank of America, The Foundation for Business Equity, The Boston Foundation, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eastern Bank, and several other organizations across Massachusetts.

It goes without saying that local economies will not see a full recovery until small businesses are growing, hiring, and thriving once again. And thanks to some of the efforts from Small Business Strong, State Street, and the initiative’s other partners, small businesses throughout the Commonwealth will hopefully have the support required to do so.

 Capitol Gains

What we’re doing in Washington.

We’ve been highlighting the work done by Forum membersto support consumers, businesses, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,such as:

· Some 91% of the Paycheck Protection Program loans made by Forum members in 2020went to small businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

· Forum members increased credit to businesses and households by $785 billion to $8.3 trillion last year.

· The nation’s largest banks increased their support for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions to foster affordable lending for small businesses and individuals in low-income and minority communities.

Our Two Cents

Research from the Forum.

The BankNotes blog:​

· Corrected the record on how FSF members have provided credit during the pandemic,

· Made the case for the extension of temporary modifications to leverage requirements to support market functioning during the economic recovery.

· Argued the Federal Reserve’s method of calculating GSIB capital surcharges will raise requirements due to COVID-related central bank actions rather than increased risk for the largest banks. 

 Loose Change

Members in the news.

Bank of America has tripled its affordable homeownership commitment to $15 billion, having surpassed its original $5 billion commitment made in 2019. In addition, earlier this week, the company announced it has directed more than $22 million in philanthropic funding to support education, jobs, entrepreneurship, health and housing for people and communities of color as the company continues to deliver on its $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.

Two BNY Mellon employees were named OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Models for their continued commitment to diversity and inclusion. The bank has also scored 100% on the Human Right Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the fourteenth consecutive year. And Global Head of HR Jolen Andersen discussed the future of work with Forbes.

Citi’s new CEO, Jane Fraser, on her first day on the job committed to net zero emissions by 2050, representing the next step in the firm’s sustainability journey. “Our commitments to closing the gender pay gap, to advancing racial equity, and to pioneering the green agenda have demonstrated that this is good for business and not at odds with it,” Fraser said.   

Goldman Sachs issued its first $800 million sustainability bond toward its goal of contributing $750 billion to climate change prevention by 2030. ESG finance will be central to the bank’s strategy moving forward.

JPMorgan Chase expanded the Chase Homebuyer grant program to provide up to $5,500 to customers to cover closing costs and down payments when buying a home in 6,700 minority neighborhoods nationwide. The expansion is part of the bank’s $30 billion commitment to address the key drivers of the racial wealth divide.

Morgan Stanley kicked off its 2021 Sustainable Investing Challenge, enabling graduate students around the world to pitch creative financial approaches to addressing social and environmental issues. Morgan Stanley also doubled the size of its Multicultural Innovation Lab with the launch of its fifth cohort of women and multicultural entrepreneurs.

State Street President and CEO Ron O’Hanley co-wrote an op-ed supporting efforts in Boston to address climate change, but argued more needed to be done. “Storms and tides recognize no political boundaries, and so we must come together to address a problem that is only going to intensify in the coming years.”

Bloomberg highlighted Wells Fargo’s new $50 million investment in six Black-owned banks in the U.S. The company will provide resources, ongoing guidance, technical assistance and more. Wells Fargo has also partnered with Ameresco to install solar power generation assets at nearly 100 of its locations across seven states.