It is with profoundly mixed emotions that the California Reinvestment Coalition’s (“CRC”) Board of Directors announces that, after 20 years of leading CRC to become the pre-eminent advocacy organization for fair and equal access to financial services in California, Executive Director Alan Fisher will retire in mid-2013. The Board has started a search for a successor to continue the high level of productive bank advocacy conducted by CRC members and staff.
“Alan’s contributions to financial justice in California and beyond are immeasurable, and he has been central to CRC achieving the stature that it enjoys today,” CRC Board Chair James Zahradka said. “It’s fair to say that Alan—by effectively insisting that financial institutions and government pay attention to low-income communities and communities of color—has been instrumental in reducing the disparities that these communities face in the financial services marketplace.”
Zahradka went on to say, “CRC is currently in an exceptionally strong position. The organization is on a firm financial footing with a highly qualified, experienced, and energetic staff to continue carrying out CRC’s critical mission.”
Since starting at CRC in 1992, Fisher has grown the organization from a small ad hoc coalition into a membership organization including over 300 California non-profits and governmental agencies.
Said former Board Chair Roberto Barragan, “More than ever, CRC has a critical role in the aftermath of a historic financial crisis and recession. The work it does as the nation’s leading state Community Reinvestment Act advocacy group speaks to the continuing tragedies of foreclosures, the exploitation of consumers by predatory financial service providers, and the dearth of small business credit for underserved communities. Alan has built CRC into a true institution in both achievement and future importance.”
Fisher said, “CRC is a wonderful organization with members who have deep roots in their communities. It is an honor to work with CRC members and allies to increase access to needed financial products and programs for California communities. We have won many battles and plan to win more to come.”
In addition to the growth of the organization, CRC’s recent accomplishments under Fisher’s leadership have included:
- Negotiating Community Reinvestment Act agreements with banks to secure the delivery of responsible products and services to low-income communities in California, including a recent agreement with Union Bank which will result in significantly increased lending and technical assistance to, and investment in, small business, as well as funding to help affordable housing development; the creation of a low-cost banking account; and grants to support community development of at least $33 million through 2014;
- Partnering with financial institutions, the San Francisco Foundation and the California Community Foundation to launch the California Homeownership Preservation Initiative, which resulted in increased capacity for homeownership counselors to help California homeowners avoid foreclosure. As a result, 44,685 homeowners were counseled and 6,343 foreclosures were prevented;
- Organizing CRC members to comment on banks’ CRA examinations and merger and acquisition requests, which led to unprecedented levels of community engagement on critical issues around, among others, Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide and Capital One’s takeover of ING Direct;
- Successfully pushing for passage of the California Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, landmark legislation which brings accountability to the banks for harmful foreclosure practices and allows homeowners to protect themselves from these all-too-common practices; and
- Advocating with government regulators and policymakers for the abolition of harmful products such as Refund Anticipation Loans and payday loans, which has resulted in the virtual extinction of RALs and many California jurisdictions placing significant restrictions on payday lenders.
By announcing his retirement plans now, Fisher provides CRC with ample time for a search and a seamless transition of leadership. CRC’s Board has initiated its search process for the agency’s next Executive Director, which it plans to complete this summer.
About the California Reinvestment Coalition
Established in 1986, CRC is a non-profit organization which advocates for the right of low-income communities and communities of color to have fair and equal access to banking and other financial services.
For further information, contact:
James Zahradka, Chair, Board of Directors