29 March 2006

Local Group Issues Criticism of Fifth-Third

The group that calls itself the Community Task Force held a press conference Tuesday in front of the Aronoff Center for the Arts downtown, where Fifth Third shareholders were meeting. It presented a "report card" that faulted the bank for:

* Having only five branches in Cincinnati's 10 poorest neighborhoods, versus a rate of 1.7 branches per ZIP code in other areas of the city;

* Not offering online banking in any language besides English, and not having enough Spanish-speaking tellers in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Latinos.

The group also calculated that low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and predominantly African-American neighborhoods receive less than what it termed their "fair share" of home loans.

[Business Courier...]

I appreciate the “Community Task Force’s” interest in economic equality, but this effort smacks of ignorance about the way business works. The results of their “report card” could apply to just about every business.

Free advice: instead of a “report card” faulting Fifth-Third for not stretching affirmative action to the limit, how about a report showing that there is profit to be made in low-income areas, and perhaps some guidelines on how to change or improve banking practices to better serve those areas in a way that would also benefit the bank (like suggesting bilingual tellers)?

But criticizing a bank for lack of presence in low-income areas is like criticizing car dealers for putting dealerships only in the nice parts of town.

And by the way, it's a good time to show Fifth-Third new paths to profit.


K. said...

wholly unrelated to anything - i just learned that the kid with the hair on Florida's hoops team is Yannick Noah's kid. (where have i been??) you're the only person i know that would actually find that cool. so, i'm sure probably already know it.

anyway...that's my revelation of the day.

WestEnder said...

I caught a Florida game early in the season and they mentioned that. And I did think it was pretty cool! I almost mentioned it on your blog but I figured you already knew it, too. Funny.

Yannick Noah was the first to do the between-the-legs shot.

Sonny boy's nickname was "Frenchy" when he taught summer basketball camp. He's only a sophomore now, so he'll get even better. He's pretty athletic for a big guy.

K. said...

Noah's great. I'm on the FL bandwagon now that i found out that info.

he has a look-alike at South Carolina. Balkam - same haircut, same body - SC killed Michigan tonight. i did not attend the finals, as I must slave away for "the man" instead.