Impact of the Community Reinvestment Act on New Business Start-Ups and Economic Growth in Local Markets

25 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009

Abstract

Thus the aim of this paper is to investigate potential relationship between banks' CRA lending activities, and new business start-ups and economic growth in local markets. The paper proposes that new start-ups will have spillover effects that will consequently contribute to community development. After controlling for several potential variables that could have an impact on business start-ups and community developments, the study found a strong positive effect. Beside its social and economic implications, the study also considered policy implications associated with the CRA regulation as a welfare improving initiative in low-income communities. It offers ground for certain government intervention in the loan market. The CRA was the government's response to bank lending discrimination. However, when passing the Act, Congress was equally concerned with reversing or at least halting disinvestment from inner-city communities and in turn revitalizing local economies. Many believe that the availability of credit to establish, refinance, and improve small businesses is critical to the well-being of local communities. Therefore, through the provision of small business loans, the CRA could be envisioned as a catalyst toward achieving that goal. Economic growth in the United States has historically bypassed many minorities and low-income communities. Some researchers and community advocates assert that the deterioration of these communities is in part caused by financial institutions' redlining and neglect. To rectify the situation, the government introduced the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for the purpose of encouraging banks and saving institutions to become more socially responsible and help meet the credit needs of communities in which they are located.

The CRA was the government's response to bank lending discrimination. However, when passing the Act, Congress was equally concerned with reversing or at least halting disinvestment from inner-city communities and in turn revitalizing local economies. Many believe that the availability of credit to establish, refinance, and improve small businesses is critical to the well-being of local communities. Therefore, through the provision of small business loans, the CRA could be envisioned as a catalyst toward achieving that goal.

Thus the aim of this paper is to investigate potential relationship between banks' CRA lending activities, and new business start-ups and economic growth in local markets. The paper proposes that new start-ups will have spillover effects that will consequently contribute to community development. After controlling for several potential variables that could have an impact on business start-ups and community developments, the study found a strong positive effect. Beside its social and economic implications, the study also considered policy implications associated with the CRA regulation as a welfare improving initiative in low-income communities. It offers ground for certain government intervention in the loan market.

Suggested Citation

Kobeissi, Nada, Impact of the Community Reinvestment Act on New Business Start-Ups and Economic Growth in Local Markets. Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 47, Issue 4, pp. 489-513, October 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1487275 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-627X.2009.00280.x

Nada Kobeissi (Contact Author)

Long Island University ( email )

720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, 11548-1327
United States

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