Beneficial State Foundation is convening a group of more than 60 underwriters, impact leaders at financial institutions, regulators, innovators in alternative underwriting, and borrowers from across the country to develop solutions to increase credit access to people rising from longstanding systemic inequities and barriers, particularly communities that are majority people of color.
Why this program?
Historic and contemporary discrimination and wealth disparities put people of color at a disadvantage in current underwriting models, preventing access to reasonable credit or any credit at all for homes, small businesses, vehicles, and other key assets, further exacerbating wealth and ownership inequality. We cannot maintain the status quo in bank underwriting; we must acknowledge the realities and reasons for the vastly different starting points in wealth and collateral, uncover biases, and examine assumptions in our current system. We must find new ways to begin to make up for destructive inequities and increase opportunities while safely and soundly evaluating for true risk in the provision of credit in the banking system and, in turn, the financial system at large.
Why Beneficial State Foundation?
As the primary and founding shareholder of a social impact bank, and a social- and environmental-justice nonprofit with a goal to change the banking system for good, we are uniquely positioned to develop programs that are grounded in the practical realities of banks while demanding high standards for positive and equitable impact that truly and radically transform the industry, not just tinker around the edges.
Intended Long Term Outcomes
- Increased access to fair credit by People of Color in the U.S. through
- Expansion and replication of successful programs
- Development of new programs
- Changes to law, policy, regulations, or guidelines
- Increased awareness within the banking industry of the systemic reasons for racial wealth inequality, and the reduction of corollary bias, focus, and blame on the individual
A downloadable and sharable PDF covering basic information on the URJ national working group.
An ongoing archive of recordings and resources from past and upcoming URJ meetings.
Lender Pilot Program
We have launched a two-year program with a cohort of 19 innovative lenders who are paving the way toward racial justice in the financial industry.
We enjoy supporting and learning from our colleagues in the industry, and we welcome honest, courageous conversations on how we can all contribute to positive social and environmental change. Whether you are a bank leader or director, work on an ESG or Corporate Social Responsibility team, drive your bank’s business strategy, or view yourself as a change agent at your bank, you have a role to play in our movement. We’d love to work with you.
Erin Kilmer Neel
Executive Director and Chief Impact Officer
Erin oversees strategy and operations of Beneficial State Foundation and facilitates the development of social and environmental impact standards for Beneficial State Bank and for banking systems change. She is thrilled to be working to address social and environmental injustices that are driven by the banking system. She loves smart comedy, biking, paddling, and anything that involves playing in lakes, rivers, mountains, and beaches with her fabulous husband, Beau.