February 24, 2022
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Formation of Advisory Council to Support Institutions that Lend in Communities of Color

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Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Formation of Advisory Council to Support Institutions that Lend in Communities of Color
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Governor Hochul: “The CDFIs... they're the ones that are out there making the dreams happen. They need a little extra help sometimes as well. And to talk to them today, to talk about the passion that's behind their work. These are not just jobs for these individuals. I heard this in every one of their voices that they believe in the calling to make sure that everyone has access, to live their dreams and the dreams of their families. That's what today is all about.”

Hochul: “And also to monitor the situation and find other barriers that may be in the way for peoples’ success, we're going to form an advisory council. Let's continue, and this is not just a one-off conversation, I don't believe in that. This is the beginning of a process where we're going to continue to hear from the people who are out there, in the streets, working with the businesses, working with the individuals. What are the remaining barriers and how do we break them down?”

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul hosted a roundtable in the Bronx focused on how New York State can spur economic recovery in Black and brown communities with NAACP President Dr. Hazel Dukes, and announced new efforts to fight structural racism embedded in the financial system and support innovative community lending programs and economic development services focused on reaching communities of color. The event brought together community leaders, Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Credit Unions and small business owners.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning, everyone. I’m just looking for some remarks here. Here we go. Not that I couldn't wing this if I had to! First of all, to Lourdes, thank you for welcoming us here. Yes, we had a lot of conversations when we both served in our previous capacities, about how we can promote, particularly women, women of color, small businesses, and bring it all together. And many times it came down to resources, and that's a lesson we never forgot. And so thank you for your leadership here.

This is an important organization at a time when we need everyone to come together to bring back our communities that have been hit so hard. So thank you to everyone at SoBro for never giving up during some of the darkest days that we just came through over the last two years.

And someone who I feel so confident at the helm here in the Bronx, is my great friend, Vanessa Gibson. And she has been through a trial by fire, and a lot of challenges since you first became Borough President just two months ago, it's hard to believe. And I want to thank you for the passion that you bring to your position. We've had many deep-felt conversations, especially during the fire that the community rose up for, but you never give up on your people, and our people. And I want to thank you for that passion that you bring to this.

Also, we have individuals from our team, very, very proud to have Hope Knight as the head of Empire State Development. She is no stranger to working in places, Upper Manhattan Development Corporation, Jamaica Development Corporation, I had a chance to work with her in those capacities and I saw a true leader who really understood at a deep level the challenges of the communities and that's why I'm so proud that you are the CEO of Empire State Development. Not a small task, but I know you've been really doing an incredible job.

And Adrienne Harris, we are just so fortunate to have her, based on her national experience, who worked for the Obama Administration, the Treasury Department, now to have her talent as the Superintendent of Financial Services here in New York State, it’s just an incredible catch for us. So delighted to have you as well. But also the conscience of our state, and that is Hazel Dukes, someone who calls out injustices wherever they rear their ugly heads. And I want to thank her for being at my side, as we do whatever we can to help truly have an equitable and inclusive recovery.

Yes, we knew times were hard before, but we have been kicked back and knocked down, and we now have to rise up together, and having Hazel Dukes, and all the power that she brings with her voice, at our side as we talk about our equity agenda. And this is about promoting an equity agenda that we talked about in our State of the State. It materialized in our budget because the budget is where you actually put the money behind the issues you want to raise.

And I wanted to say, I thank everyone who just participated in a very thoughtful roundtable, letting us know the challenges that businesses face, in ordinary times, but again, we're focusing on this post pandemic recovery right now. And leaders who are also out there on the front lines, fighting racial injustice, and the disparities have existed in every walk of life, including healthcare and housing, but also access to money, access to capital.

And what does that mean? Well, you only need to be denied that access to understand how it affects your family. It means you may not be able to buy that home. It may mean you can’t invest in your child's education because the costs are so high, it may mean that you can't start that small business that you've always dreamed of, or that you don't have the money you need for retirement.

These are real problems, and they've been exacerbated and what we have an opportunity to do right now is to begin to right those wrongs. And it's about celebrating those who are in those positions. And there's something known as Community Development Investment Corporations, and they are the ones that – the CDFIs, financial institutions – they're the ones that are out there making the dreams happen.

They need a little extra help sometimes as well. And to talk to them today, to talk about the passion that's behind their work. These are not just jobs for these individuals. I heard this in every one of their voices that they believe in the calling to make sure that everyone has access, to live their dreams and the dreams of their families. That's what today is all about, as we go forth. And I want to talk about the tools that we have available, CDFIs and MDIs. They're in our toolkit, these are ways that we can help people really live up to their full potential. And that's what we're trying to do. It's also how we help individuals build wealth.

Black and brown Americans right now, you know, you look at their percentage in the population, which have just a fraction, a fraction of the wealth, and that's been historic. And we have to peel back at the real true causes of that, what has been going on for such a long time.

And I believe that there has been systemic discrimination and racism inherent in our financial institutions for far too long. So we have these CDFIs and MDIs as the alternative to say, no, we just can't allow the status quo to go, that these people are going to languish and never be able to have this access. Let's create another funding source. Let's find another way to achieve those objectives that are so critically important to all of us.

And it's also, when you think about access to capital, there are cycles of poverty that have been ongoing in places like the Bronx and Harlem and East New York and Buffalo, New York and Rochester, and say, this is not just a phenomenon here. It is across our state, and the more we are thoughtful about this and find out how to break those cycles, whether it's better education when they're younger, you know, getting kids even before school age and investing in them, believing in them. After school programs to keep our kids busy, so much of the work that's done right here at SoBro, and workforce training programs, the internships when they’re younger, training for real jobs when they're older and then talking about – what is your dream? What would you like to do? You wanted to start a business? Well, here's how we hold your hand and show you how to get those resources.

I had a minor experience with this, not the same challenges that others face, but I helped my mother start a small business, I helped my sister start a small business, I had to do all the paperwork for her to be a certified MWBE. It was in a different state, but it just made you want to pull your hair out, how frustrating it was.

And there's so many barriers, people just say, it's just too hard, I'm going to give up. Do I know what I'm talking about? Yes, I see a lot of nodding heads and that's why I also said in my administration, as part of our equity agenda, we are going to identify why it is so challenging for people to be certified as MWBEs, because we want to make sure that they have access to literally billions of dollars in state contracts. That is transformative for businesses. You get one of those subcontracts and the next thing you know, you're the prime and you're hiring other people, you're going to hire people from that same ecosystem. That's how we build wealth in our communities.

And so, we need to talk about how we can continue to help. We've already invested $5 million in financial inclusion grants in our fund. But you know what? $5 billion is nice, it's not a small amount of money. Let's go big. I'm with the philosophy, you go big or you go home. We're not going home.

We're going big right here. And so we're going to continue deepening our commitment to the CDFIs and we're going to make an historic investment. And what I am proposing to do, is to take, of the $500 million allocated through the American Rescue Plan to New York, to seek the approval from the federal government to allocate $150 million into the CDFIs, our highest investment in New York State history.

And also to monitor the situation and find other barriers that may be in the way for peoples’ success, we're going to form an advisory council. Let's continue, and this is not just a one-off conversation, I don't believe in that. This is the beginning of a process where we're going to continue to hear from the people who are out there, in the streets, working with the businesses, working with the individuals. What are the remaining barriers and how do we break them down? And so we're launching an advisory council with DFS – thank you, Superintendent Harris and representatives from the CDFIs and MDIs – to discuss how we can deepen our continued support.

Because there is no recovery from this pandemic until every community comes back, regardless of their socioeconomic status, regardless of the color of the skin of the people who live there, regardless of the origin of their birth, where they may have come from – our new immigrants. It does not matter until we lift everyone up and I'm not just talking about surviving, I'm talking about thriving. That is what we're setting out to do, to change peoples’ mindsets about what the status quo can or should be.

We're just breaking through that and saying, this is a new era for New York and it starts in rooms like this. We have the conversations, we bring the resources to the table and then there is no stopping us. So I believe in this. I will continue to be your ally and make sure that all of you are successful. And I look forward to continuing the conversations, the work, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

I'm always results oriented – metrics. I want to see how we went from here to here, and let's make sure that we make this wildly successful. So with that, I will bring up – I believe Hope Knight is next on our agenda to talk about her work and then we'll get to our Superintendent Harris. Thank you.

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