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Sept 24, 2013

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On CRA Protest of Stock Yards-Commonwealth Disclosure of Moderate Income Branch Closing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Story Order
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, Nov 8 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced until the new Administration and its regulators is an open question. And not only the proposed acquisition of Investors Bank by Citizens Bank NA but also Stock Yards - Commonwealth will be litmus tests.

Now on November 8, Stock Yards has disclosed after Fed questioning trigger by Fair Finance Watch's protest, that "One branch of Stock Yards Bank proposed to be closed, located at 4790 Houston Road, Florence, Kentucky (the “4790 HR Branch”), is within a moderate income census tract. This branch office is located 1.7 miles from a current Commonwealth Bank branch located at 7135 Houston Road, Florence, Kentucky (the “7135 HR Branch”) that will be retained as a branch of the resulting bank. Applicant believes there will be no impact from the closure." Really? 1.7 miles and no impact.

Meanwhile Stock Yards is trying to withhold its exhibits about compliance. Inner City Press is pursuing under FOIA. Watch this site.


On October 2, after filing with the FDIC, Inner City Press filed with the Federal Reserve:

"This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the FRB's public comment period on the Applications by Stock Yards Bancorp to acquire Commonwealth Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company, both of Louisville, Kentucky     

 The applicant Stock Yard Bank is getting worse.  In Kentucky in 2020 it made 1431 home loans to whites and only 39 to African Americans (while denying 18application from African Americans, and only 188 from whites - down from 250 in 2019).    Commonwealth Bank & Trust in Kentucky in 2020 made more loans that its putative acquirer, but was also disparate: it made 3358 home loans to whites and 156 to African Americans (while denying 63 application from African Americans, and 459 from whites).  There is no public benefit to this proposal.    

FFW and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the FRB's penchant to rubberstamp mergers by redliners, particularly during the pandemic - including starting comment periods even before applications are filed and/or publicly available. We have just filed a FOIA request: 

"This is a formal FOIA request for the entirety of the application by Stock Yards Bancorp to acquire Commonwealth Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company including all portions for which the applicants have requested confidential treatment, and for all records including electronic records reflecting the FRS' communications with or about Stock Yards Bancorp or Commonwealth Bancshares or either affiliates since January 1, 2020.  . Given the public comment period here, this request should be expedited such that the records are provided before the comment period ends (for now, Oct 21, 2021)." 

We timely request public hearings.  The comment period should be extended; evidentiary hearings should be held; and on the current record, the application should not be approved."

Meanwhile, Investors Bank is one of the most disparate banks in New York State, where in 2020 it made only three mortgage loans to African Americans, while denying fully seven applications from African Americans. By contrast, it made 164 loans to whites while denying only 76 applications from whites.

  Inner City Press raised the 2019 disparities to the FDIC - and on July 30 was contacted by the FDIC that it imposed rare conditions on Investors. Letter here.

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