On Thursday, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she will be reevaluating the city’s relationships with the banks that handle its money, with the goal of getting those financial institutions providing better services to low- and middle-income areas.
Jones, who joined St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy D. Goodwin on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, said that she plans to use the city’s annual evaluation of which banks can and can’t handle government funds to try to encourage lending practices she says have stagnated.
“The planning department actually maps out where loans are being made and loans are not being made, and it looks like any other map that we look at of the city, where there's no lending activity in north St. Louis and parts of south St. Louis where typically more low- and moderate-income people live, and there's a lot of lending activity in wealthy or affluent areas in the city,” she said. “So we have to change the trajectory if we want to create a city where all of our families have an opportunity to thrive and build assets.”
Jones said that she wants to use the process of approving the sanctioned list of banks for city funds to encourage different lending behavior.
“We have to pay strict attention to the banks that we do business with to make sure that they're making themselves available, that they're making loans in low- and moderate-income areas, that their branches are available in low- and moderate-income areas,” she said. “We want to make sure that we're getting best bang for the buck for the city but also for the residents.”
Jones also discussed her opposition to the Better Together plan for a city-county merger in light of the St. Louis County NAACP announcing its support for the proposal, the ongoing court battle that might strip the city treasurer of the funds generated by parking meters, and College Kids, her office’s program to create college savings funds for children in St. Louis Public Schools.
Listen to the full conversation:
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