Attention: Our Resurgens Plaza Banking Center will close at 2:00 pm EST this Friday, November 22nd. We will reopen at 9:00 am on Monday, November 25th at our new Buckhead Banking Center located at 3033 Maple Drive, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Building Better Communities Through Banking

How Financial Institutions Can Play a Key Role in Ending Cycles of Poverty

The challenges of bridging the gap between the poorest and wealthiest communities in our society have been well documented. Factors common to low-income households, such as low financial literacy, medical costs or tax complications, and inability to build credit only serve to widen discrepancies in generational wealth and create cycles of poverty that can be difficult to break.

Given the lack of a natural incentive for banks to do business in struggling communities, the federal government passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977, with the purpose of requiring financial institutions to make credit available in low- and moderate-income areas. Under the CRA, banks are subject to evaluation every three years to ensure compliance, meaning each institution has to find ways of giving back to communities within the markets it serves or face sanctions that can seriously impact business opportunities.

But how effective has the CRA been in promoting balance within our local economies? While the intention behind the CRA was undoubtedly positive, one has only to read the news or look around to find reasons to doubt its effectiveness. Not only does poverty remain a critical issue across the country, but many banks find it easier to throw money at the problem to satisfy requirements, rather than take the time and energy to develop a strategy with tangible objectives or make any kind of emotional investment in the outcome of their efforts.

The reality is that banks have vast potential when it comes to making our communities better places to live. As primary sources of capital for businesses and individuals alike, banks can help change lives. Whether through mortgages, savings and investments, small business financing, or even day-to-day checking and credit card services, banks provide the means by which we can all work toward achieving prosperity. The question is where and how a bank chooses to offer its services, along with who is eligible for those services.

Of course, few people would suggest that banks should lower their lending criteria or start handing out free money – these are not sustainable solutions. Instead, it’s important to think about the ways we can make low- and moderate-income communities more bankable.

And this is where banks hold the key to unlocking some of the challenges facing community development. If banks were to focus greater energy and resources on providing no-cost financial education programs and helping people build credit in responsible ways, those in lower-income communities might well start to gain a measure of agency and control over their situation.

Many low- and moderate-income residents are simply trapped by a system they may not fully understand. Something as commonplace as filing taxes becomes a lot more complicated if your family can’t afford a computer. And when it comes to buying a house, the process of providing good credit history can be almost unfathomable. But with better financial education and a foundation of solid credit, it’s possible certain residents could get a better understanding of what’s necessary to find the prosperity they dream of. And in return, banks cultivate new customers who are loyal to the institution that gave them this opportunity.

The difficulties of community development are complex and not solvable with one initiative, or even a handful of initiatives. And there are many organizations – locally, nationally, and internationally – that truly do make a difference. But if we as financial institutions are serious about trying to improve quality of life in lower-income communities, it’s crucial that we recognize the level of commitment and responsibility required.

Our involvement must go beyond what is stipulated by the CRA. By giving our time and energy to foster community partnerships, provide educational programs, and help build credit, we can make a significant impact on the lives of people who are struggling. In this respect, we’re looking toward a future of banks collaborating and cooperating to make communities better for everyone, not just for those who live on the wealthy side of town.

Atlantic Capital’s community development initiatives make up a core element of who we are. Since receiving our charter in 2007, we have prided ourselves on consistently going above and beyond CRA requirements in providing grassroots support to low-and-moderate income communities in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Click here to learn more about what Atlantic Capital is doing in the community.

Address Book Address Card adjust Alarm Clock align-center align-justify align-left align-right Allergies ambulance American Sign Language Interpreting Anchor Angle Double Down Angle Double Left Angle Double Right Angle Double Up angle-down angle-left angle-right angle-up Archive Alternate Arrow Circle Down Alternate Arrow Circle Left Alternate Arrow Circle Right Alternate Arrow Circle Up Alternate Arrow Down Alternate Arrow from Bottom Alternate Arrow from Left Alternate Arrow from Right Alternate Arrow from Top Alternate Arrow Left Alternate Arrow Right Alternate Arrow Square Down Alternate Arrow Square Left Alternate Arrow Square Right Alternate Arrow Square Up Alternate Arrow to Bottom Alternate Arrow to Left Alternate Arrow to Right Alternate Arrow to Top Alternate Arrow Up Arrow Circle Down Arrow Circle Left Arrow Circle Right Arrow Circle Up arrow-down Arrow from Bottom Arrow from Left Arrow from Right Arrow from Top arrow-left arrow-right Arrow Square Down Arrow Square Left Arrow Square Right Arrow Square Up Arrow to Bottom Arrow to Left Arrow to Right Arrow to Top arrow-up Arrows Alternate Arrows Alternate Arrows Horizontal Alternate Arrows Vertical Arrows Horizontal Arrows Vertical Assistive Listening Systems asterisk At Audio Description backward Badge Check Badge Balance Scale ban Band-Aid barcode Barcode Alternate Barcode Read Barcode Scan Bars Baseball Baseball Ball Basketball Ball Basketball Hoop Bath Battery Bolt Battery Empty Battery Full Battery 1/2 Full Battery 1/4 Full Battery Slash Battery 3/4 Full Bed beer bell Bell Slash Bicycle Binoculars Birthday Cake Blind bold Lightning Bolt Bomb book bookmark Bowling Ball Bowling Pins Box Box Check Boxes Boxing Glove Braille Briefcase Medical Briefcase Browser Bug Building bullhorn Bullseye Burn Bus Calculator Calendar Alternate Calendar Calendar Check Calendar Edit Calendar Exclamation Calendar Minus Calendar Plus Calendar Times camera Alternate Camera Retro Camera Capsules Car Caret Circle Down Caret Circle Left Caret Circle Right Caret Circle Up Caret Down Caret Left Caret Right Caret Square Down Caret Square Left Caret Square Right Caret Square Up Caret Up Shopping Cart Arrow Down Add to Shopping Cart certificate Area Chart Bar Chart Line Chart Pie Chart Check Check Circle Check Square Chess Chess Bishop Alternate Chess Bishop Chess Board Chess Clock Alternate Chess Clock Chess King Alternate Chess King Chess Knight Alternate Chess Knight Chess Pawn Alternate Chess Pawn Chess Queen Alternate Chess Queen Chess Rook Alternate Chess Rook Chevron Circle Down Chevron Circle Left Chevron Circle Right Chevron Circle Up Chevron Double Down Chevron Double Left Chevron Double Right Chevron Double Up chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right Chevron Square Down Chevron Square Left Chevron Square Right Chevron Square Up chevron-up Child Circle Circle Notched Clipboard Clipboard Check Clipboard List Clock Clone Closed Captioning Cloud Cloud Download Cloud Download Alternate Cloud Upload Cloud Upload Alternate Club Code Code Branch Code Commit Code Merge Coffee cog cogs Columns comment Alternate Comment comments Compass Compress Alternate Compress Compress Wide Conveyor Belt Conveyor Belt Alternate Copy Copyright Credit Card Credit Card Blank Credit Card Front Cricket crop Crosshairs Cube Cubes Curling Cut Database Deaf Desktop Alternate Desktop Diagnoses Diamond DNA Dollar Sign Dolly Dolly Empty Dolly Flatbed Dolly Flatbed Alternate Dolly Flatbed-empty Dot Circle Download Dumbbell Edit eject Horizontal Ellipsis Alternate Horizontal Ellipsis Vertical Ellipsis Alternate Vertical Ellipsis Envelope Envelope Open Envelope Square eraser Euro Sign Exchange Alternate Exchange exclamation Exclamation Circle Exclamation Square Exclamation Triangle Expand Alternate Expand Expand Arrows Alternate Expand Arrows Expand Wide External Link Alternate External Link External Link Square Alternate External Link Square Eye Eye Dropper Eye Slash fast-backward fast-forward Fax Female Field Hockey fighter-jet File Alternate File Archive File Audio File Check File Code File Edit File Excel File Exclamation File Image File Medical File Medical File Alternate Minus File PDF File Plus File Powerpoint File Times File Video File Word File Film Alternate Film Filter fire fire-extinguisher First Aid flag flag-checkered Flask Folder Folder Open font Football Ball Football Helmet Forklift forward Frown Futbol Gamepad Gavel Gem Genderless gift Martini Glass Globe Golf Ball Golf Club Graduation Cap H Square H1 Heading H2 Heading H3 Heading Hand Holding Box Lizard (Hand) Paper (Hand) Peace (Hand) Hand Pointing Down Hand Pointing Left Hand Pointing Right Hand Pointing Up Pointer (Hand) Hand Receiving Rock (Hand) Scissors (Hand) Spock (Hand) Handshake Hashtag HDD heading headphones Heart Heartbeat Hexagon History Hockey Puck Hockey Sticks home hospital Hospital Alternate Hospital Symbol Hourglass Hourglass End Hourglass Half Hourglass Start I Beam Cursor Identification Badge Identification Card Identification Card Alternate Image Images inbox Inbox In Inbox Out Indent Industry Alternate Industry Info Info Circle Info Square Inventory italic Jack-o'-lantern key Keyboard Language Laptop leaf Lemon Level Down Level Down Alternate Level Up Level Up Alternate Life Ring Lightbulb Link Turkish Lira Sign List List Alternate list-ol list-ul location-arrow lock Alternate Lock Lock Open Alternate Lock Open Alternate Long Arrow Down Alternate Long Arrow Left Alternate Long Arrow Right Alternate Long Arrow Up Long Arrow Down Long Arrow Left Long Arrow Right Long Arrow Up Low Vision Luchador magic magnet Male Map map-marker Map Marker Alternate Map Pin Map Signs Mars Mars Double Mars Stroke Mars Stroke Horizontal Mars Stroke Vertical medkit Meh Mercury Microchip microphone Alternate Microphone Microphone Slash minus Minus Circle Minus Hexagon Minus Octagon Minus Square Mobile Phone Alternate Mobile Mobile Android Alternate Mobile Android Money Bill Money Bill Alternate Moon Motorcycle Mouse Pointer Music Neuter Newspaper Medical Notes Object Group Object Ungroup Octagon Outdent Paint Brush Pallet Pallet Alternate Paper Plane Paperclip paragraph Paste pause Pause Circle Paw Pen Alternate Pen Pen Square pencil Alternate Pencil Pennant Percent Phone Phone Slash Phone Square Phone Volume Pills plane Alternate Plane play Play Circle Plug plus Plus Circle Plus Hexagon Plus Octagon Plus Square Podcast Poo Portrait Pound Sign Power Off Prescription Bottle Prescription Bottle Alternate print Procedures Puzzle Piece qrcode Question Question Circle Question Square Quidditch quote-left quote-right Racquet random Landscape Rectangle Portrait Rectangle Wide Rectangle Recycle Redo Alternate Redo Registered Trademark Repeat Repeat 1 Alternate Repeat 1 Alternate Repeat Reply reply-all Retweet Alternate Retweet road rocket rss RSS Square Ruble Sign Indian Rupee Sign Save Scanner Scanner Keyboard Scanner Touchscreen Scrubber Search Search Minus Search Plus Server Share Share All Alternate Share Alternate Share Square Share Square Shekel Sign shield Alternate Shield shield Ship Shipping Fast Shipping Timed Shopping Bag Shopping Basket shopping-cart Shower Shuttlecock Sign In Alternate Sign In Sign Language Sign Out Alternate Sign Out signal Sitemap Horizontal Sliders Square Horizontal Sliders Vertical Sliders Square Vertical Sliders Smile Smoking Snowflake Sort Sort Alpha Down Sort Alpha Up Sort Amount Down Sort Amount Up Sort Down (Descending) Sort Numeric Down Sort Numeric Up Sort Up (Ascending) Space Shuttle Spade Spinner Spinner Third Square Square Full Star Exclamation Star star-half step-backward step-forward Stethoscope Sticky Note stop Stop Circle Stopwatch Street View Strikethrough subscript Subway Suitcase Sun superscript Sync Alternate Sync Syringe table Table Tennis tablet Alternate Tablet Tablet Android Alternate Tablet Android Rugged Tablet Tablets Tachometer Alternate Tachometer tag tags Tasks Taxi Tennis Ball Terminal text-height text-width th th-large th-list Thermometer Thermometer Empty Thermometer Full Thermometer 1/2 Full Thermometer 1/4 Full Thermometer 3/4 Full thumbs-down thumbs-up Thumbtack Ticket Alternate Ticket Times Times Circle Times Hexagon Times Octagon Times Square tint Toggle Off Toggle On Trademark Train Transgender Alternate Transgender Trash Alternate Trash Tree Tree Alternate Triangle trophy Alternate Trophy truck TTY Television Retro Televison Umbrella Underline Undo Alternate Undo Universal Access University unlink unlock Alternate Unlock Upload US Dollar Circle US Dollar Square User Alternate User User Circle user-md Add User User Secret Remove User Users Utensil Fork Utensil Knife Utensil Spoon Utensils Alternate Utensils Venus Venus Double Venus Mars Vial Vials Video Volleyball Ball volume-down volume-mute volume-off volume-up Warehouse Warehouse Alternate Watch Weight Wheelchair Whistle WiFi Window Alternate Window Window Close Window Maximize Window Minimize Window Restore Won Sign Wrench X-Ray Yen Sign Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn LinkedIn In