Mastercard said it will invest $500 million in Black communities across the U.S. over the next five years in a bid to address racial disparities in financial services. The new initiative will include “concentrated investments that will focus on providing Black-owned businesses and Black people access to affordable financial tools and capital,” Mastercard said in a news release.
"This is a time for action. We have an obligation … to be part of the positive change Black communities so rightly need now," said Ajay Banga, Mastercard CEO. "We are starting in cities across the country with on-the-ground efforts meant to drive out inequities and create the opportunities, connections and resources that will spark economic growth for the long term."
Mastercard said the current situation in the U.S. has “half of all Black Americans excluded from the financial mainstream and Black-owned small businesses excluded from funding opportunities.”
“Our financial system has systemically disadvantaged and excluded Black communities throughout this country’s history,” said Frank Altman, founder and CEO of the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. “We can and must do better. As part of our partnership with Mastercard, we are accelerating our efforts to increase access to capital and credit for Black-owned businesses,” he said. “Our aim is to level the playing field for economic growth.”
Mastercard said the new program would, among other things, expand city programs that aid Black communities in such cities as Atlanta, Birmingham, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, St. Louis and Dayton, Ohio. The company said its expanded Mastercard City Key would provide “more than one million residents with digital access to essential financial tools and support.”
“Financial products like credit cards or business loans may leave out the unbanked or underbanked — forcing them to use inconvenient and costly payday lending, check cashing and remittance services,” the credit card giant said in its release. “The digital Mastercard Money Connect Solutions will allow people to send money to relatives affordably, enable real-time bill payment and check deposits by phone, and help people manage wage fluctuations and unexpected bills through earned wage access instead of having to wait until payday.”