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April 6, 2023

After SVB Collapse, Pressley & Lynch Lead MA Lawmakers Urging First Citizens Bank to Honor Affordable Housing Investments

At Least 18 Unfinished Affordable Housing Projects in MA Depend on Outstanding Financing Loaned by SVB

Text of Letter (PDF)

BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) led their Massachusetts colleagues, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), and U.S. Representatives Bill Keating (MA-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04) on a letter to First Citizens Bank and Trust Company urging the prioritization of the development of affordable housing infrastructure in Massachusetts as they finalize their acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

“It is clear that SVB had extensive investments and partnerships in the affordable housing sector that should be continued,” the lawmakers wrote. “In the middle of a worsening affordable housing crisis, it is critical that there is a continuation of these activities under new ownership to avoid the disruption of local affordable housing development pipelines and initiatives.”

Following SVB’s acquisition of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company in 2021, SVB provided loans to various local non-profit housing and community development organizations around Massachusetts for the development of affordable housing. There are currently at least 18 affordable housing developments financed by SVB under construction in 10 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. These projects consist of more than 700 homes for low-income residents and nearly 120 homes for extremely low-income residents, and their completion is dependent upon the outstanding financing loaned by SVB.

“Through the continuation of these commitments, First Citizens Bank can serve a vital role in our shared efforts to advance the quality of life, economic growth, and revitalization of our most underserved communities,” the Members wrote.

Last year, SVB and Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation announced a $75 million initiative designed to expand quality affordable housing and revitalize underserved areas in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  SVB also reported that it has invested and loaned more than $2 billion over the past two decades –$1.6 billion in loans directed towards the construction or modernization of affordable housing units nationwide.

You can read the letter here.

Shortly after SVB’s collapse, Rep. Pressley issued a statement on the bank’s failure and called for a House Financial Services Committee hearing to investigate the collapse. The Committee ultimately heeded her calls.

At the Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Pressley questioned federal banking regulators about the SVB collapse and how Republicans’ 2018 bank deregulation bill contributed to it. Rep. Pressley specifically highlighted how the legislation weakened the Federal Reserve and regulators’ supervision of SVB. Full video of her exchange with witnesses is available here.

Rep. Pressley also joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-47), and dozens of lawmakers in introducing legislation to repeal Republicans’ rollback of critical banking protections in 2018 and restore Dodd-Frank protections.