M&T Bank Corp. announced Monday its Community Growth Plan, a five-year effort to provide $43 billion in loans, investment and other financial support to create greater economic opportunity for low- to moderate-income families and neighborhoods, as well as people and communities of color.
Bank officials said the Community Growth Plan was developed in collaboration with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in conjunction with M&T’s proposed acquisition of People’s United Bank and will become operational shortly after closing of the transaction.
M&T, which is headquartered in Buffalo, New York, has a strong presence in New Jersey. It also has branches in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The plan includes $23 billion in loans for home purchases, home equity and small businesses, and another $20 billion for community development initiatives and affordable housing.
M&T’s plan addresses key areas of need identified during its meetings with community leaders, including:
- Community development lending and investing: Building on its leadership in community-focused lending and investing, M&T intends to invest $11.95 billion in community development activities, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, New Market Tax Credit and Small Business Investment Company programs, as well as provide greater access to capital for underserved communities through impact equity investments.
- Homeownership and affordable housing: Recognizing the importance of homeownership to individuals and communities, M&T plans to provide $8.8 billion in home purchase lending for LMI households and communities, minority households and majority-minority communities, and will expand its mortgage product offerings. M&T also plans to invest $7 billion in the development of multifamily, affordable and workforce housing across its expanded footprint.
- Small-business lending and counseling: M&T will increase its lending to small businesses, providing $10.5 billion targeting programs and products that benefit businesses in LMI and minority communities. M&T will also develop and implement programs that increase access to education, resources and capital for minority- and women-owned small businesses and startup entrepreneurs.
- Financial support and services: To help ensure all customers and communities have access to the financial support and services they need, M&T has launched a new financial education initiative, will expand the availability of both its Bank On certified checking account and secured credit card, and will invest in its growing multicultural banking program to develop products and services accessible to underserved individuals and those with limited English proficiency.
- Multicultural banking: M&T anticipates designating as many as 115 branches throughout its expanded footprint as multicultural banking centers, in which bilingual branch staff can support the banking needs of the bank’s non-English-speaking customers and offer guidance in their preferred language. The bank recently launched a Spanish-language version of its website, added Chinese and Korean to the languages available on its ATMs, developed financial education materials in Spanish and plans to offer customers the ability to schedule online appointments in six different languages.
- Access to services: The bank will also identify ways to enhance customers’ access to its services in rural and urban areas where there is a limited presence of financial institutions. Approaches may vary by community, but could include mobile distribution, financial education seminars, partnerships with local community organizations or placing ATMs in those communities.
Other initiatives include providing a framework for increasing business opportunities for diverse suppliers, community development focused philanthropy, investments supporting renewable energy and other programs, totaling approximately $5 billion.
M&T Chairman and CEO Rene Jones said the Community Growth Plan is align with the bank’s mission and vision.
“At its core, M&T is a bank with a deep commitment to serve our communities and make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “We are also committed to taking action to help address inequities that have existed for years. This plan is another step in our journey to orient ourselves around what our communities need most.”
The plan expands M&T’s ongoing commitment to supporting people, businesses and communities where it operates. Dating back to 1982, M&T has earned the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s highest possible rating on its Community Reinvestment Act exams that assess how the bank meets the needs of its communities.