Aiming to identify and reduce potential barriers minority depository institutions face in participating in New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) loan programs, Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Jamel Holley sponsor a bill to create an EDA position to address these concerns.
Depository institutions are financial institutions that largely obtain their funds through deposits from members of the public, such as banks and savings associations. A minority depository institution is an organization with a majority of its voting stock and a majority of its Board of Director positions held by people of color, while the community it serves is predominantly comprised of minorities as well.
Under the bill (A-4516), a position of Minority Depository Institution Coordinator would be created to help determine potential issues preventing minority depository institutions from partaking in the EDA’s financial assistance program. The coordinator would then collaborate with the EDA and the State’s Chief Diversity Officer to find ways to help decrease these barriers.
Upon the legislation being advanced by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Monday, Assembly sponsors Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Holley (D-Union) issued the following joint statement:
“New Jersey is a state that believes everyone deserves equal access to the many aspects of our society – including entrepreneurship. The EDA’s mission of revitalizing communities by helping businesses thrive cannot leave anyone behind if it is to create a fair environment for all institutions to compete.
“Creating this position will help ensure proper representation among those who apply for and receive EDA loans, which is especially important during a time when our economy has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting inclusivity will allow our State to invest in businesses that accurately represent the diversity of our communities and ultimately benefit residents from all walks of life.”
The bill will now head to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.