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Editorial: An urgent task for City Hall. Tackle the lending gap that holds back the South, West sides.

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A city neighborhood isn’t merely a hodgepodge of housing and businesses. It’s an amalgam of anchoring entities that keep it alive and thriving, that gives it a defining sense of community. Those anchors include schools, of course. Churches. Parks. And, fundamentally, banks.

That’s not just because banks are repositories for paychecks. The level of commitment that banks make, or refuse to make, to lend in a given neighborhood can make or break that community.

Depriving a neighborhood of lending essentially consigns Chicagoans who live there to a future doomed by disinvestment, joblessness, street violence and worst of all, hopelessness.

It’s no secret that of all the troubles that suppress revitalization of Chicago’s predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, the glaring disparity between how much banks lend to the North Side versus communities on the South and West sides is one of the most insidious, and one of the most unconscionable.

An investigation last year by WBEZ and the nonprofit newsroom City Bureau laid bare the problem, examining Chicago home purchase loan data from 2012 to 2018. The report found that mostly white neighborhoods got more than 68% of money lent for housing purchases, compared with just 8% in........

© Chicago Tribune

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