Skip to Content

Press Releases

Ranking Member Maxine Waters Highlights Work to Support Small, Diverse Businesses During Treasury’s Annual Freedman’s Bank Forum

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered opening remarks for the United States Treasury's Annual Freedman’s Bank forum for a panel entitled, “Scaling Underserved Businesses through Capital and Ecosystem Support” to discuss the progress that’s been made to deliver capital and technical assistance to help underserved businesses connect with customers and market opportunities. Watch the full remarks and panel HERE.

During her opening remarks, Congresswoman Waters highlighted:

  • The critical role that small businesses, including minority-and-women-owned businesses, play as the backbone of our communities.

  • The importance of Black banks, such as the Freedman's Bank, which were established post-civil war to help formerly enslaved persons navigate their financial lives.

  • The work she’s done as former Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee and now as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee to support small businesses, including:

    • In December 2020, Waters worked with Senator Warner and other colleagues to secure an unprecedented $12 billion in capital investments and grants for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to allow them to expand and provide urgently needed support, including to small businesses and businesses owned by people of color, which were the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Treasury and the CDFI Fund worked hard to deploy these funds, and those who received funds from the $12 billion programs have leveraged them to provide further support to small businesses across the country.

  • Last Congress, Waters led the effort to renew the State Small Business Credit Initiative, or SSBCI, which provided $10 billion in federal funds for Treasury to deploy through state, territory, and tribal programs to support up to $100 billion in new loans, investments, and technical assistance to support small businesses so they can grow and thrive.

  • The unfortunate reality of Minority Depository Institutions leaving underserved communities without access to banking services. As it stands, the number of MDI banks and MDI credit unions has declined by about one-third in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis. CDFI’s are also facing similar challenges.

Ranking Member Waters wrapped up her remarks by emphasizing that there is still much work to be done to support our nation’s small and diverse businesses, and calling on panelists and attendees to continue collaborating with Congress to develop new ways to do this.


Back to top