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A decade ago, the financial system came crashing down. Famously, shortly after his inauguration as president, Barack Obama told the nation’s bankers, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” And yet, financial consolidation has continued. Before the great recession, the Big Four banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank—held 32 percent of all deposits. Now, a little over a decade later, they hold 45 percent of all deposits.

A silver lining has been the rise of credit unions and community-based finance. In 2007, the US Social Investment Forum reported that community development financial institutions had $25 billion in assets. Today, they have $185 billion—more than seven times as much. Credit unions have also grown, with 118.3 million Americans now banking at cooperatively owned financial institutions, up from 86 million before the Great Recession.

REMAKING THE ECONOMY: WHO CONTROLS THE CAPITAL? begins with a brief interview of Cliff Rosenthal, who for three decades directed a national federation of community development credit unions (now known as Inclusive) and is author of Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement.

Following the interview, NPQ Senior Editor Steve Dubb facilitates a panel that includes Shiranthi Goonathilaka, Director of Engagement and Experience at Village Financial Cooperative, a startup credit union founded by Black community organizers in North Minneapolis; Ignacio Esteban, CEO of Florida Community Loan Fund, a $71-million statewide lender; and Rodney Foxworth, executive director of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a group that supports business ownership in communities of color.

This webinar explores:

  • Core principles that can guide nonprofits in community finance
  • Challenges in operating community-based credits
  • How to leverage community capital to decolonize wealth and distribute ownership of business assets more broadly
  • Points of leverage available to nonprofits and movement to control capital
  • Ecosystem supports that can help community financial strategies succeed?
  • Shifts in thinking, practice, and culture that can make control of capital allocation more democratic

This is the fourth in our seven-webinar Remaking the Economy series. Future webinars in the series will be held once a month at 2 pm eastern on the second Thursday of the month and will explore the following topics: 

  • Leveraging universities and hospitals, March 14th
  • State and local policies to rebuild the economy: April 11th
  • How to succeed in changing a system: May 9th

The moderator for this webinar is NPQ Senior Editor Steve Dubb. Steve has worked with cooperatives and nonprofits for over two decades and has been both a student and practitioner in the field of community economic development.