Color and Money

Politics and Prospects for Community Reinvestment in Urban America

By Gregory D. Squires & Sally O'Connor

Subjects: Urban Studies
Series: SUNY series, The New Inequalities
Paperback : 9780791449523, 218 pages, March 2001
Hardcover : 9780791449516, 218 pages, April 2001

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Table of contents

Tables and Illustrations

1. Opening Doors: The Community Reinvestment Movement

2. Race, Ethnicity, and Income: The Persistent Lending Gaps

3. Community Reinvestment in Milwaukee: An Ambiguous Comparative Legacy

4. Mortgage Lending and Segregation in Milwaukee's Suburbs

5. Milwaukee's Best (and Worst?) Mortgage Lenders

6. Small Business Lending Gaps

7. Does Anybody Look Like Me? Minority Employment and Minority Lending

8. Fringe Banking in Milwaukee: The Rise of Check-Cashing Businesses and the Emergence of a Two-Tiered Banking System

9. Organizing Access to Capital: The Fair Lending Coalition and Community Advocacy

10. The Uncertain Future of Community Reinvestment


A case study of Milwaukee, Wisconsin exploring how lending practices and access to capital are shaped by race.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, green is not the only color that matters to lenders. This case study of Milwaukee, Wisconsin—a fairly typical urban area that has experienced systematic disinvestment and a budding reinvestment movement—demonstrates the continuing significance of race in determining who gets home mortgage and small business loans. Confirming the ongoing role of politics in both nurturing urban reinvestment and fueling a backlash by financial institutions, Color and Money offers critical policy recommendations for increasing access to capital in central city communities and for racial minorities throughout the nation's metropolitan areas.

Gregory D. Squires is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at George Washington University and the author of several books, including Capital and Communities in Black and White: The Intersections of Race, Class, and Uneven Development, also published by SUNY Press. Sally O'Connor is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


"The authors' thorough investigation presents a persuasive argument. ..highly recommended. " — Library Journal

"Color and Money provides an important reminder to policymakers of the Community Reinvestment Act's key role in promoting fairness, as well as the need to strengthen the Act to meet the challenges of the twenty-first-century economy. " — Congressman Thomas M. Barrett, 5th District of Wisconsin

"Squires's and O'Connor's work provides undeniable confirmation that race does matter in lending. Color and Money clarifies the historical and structural underpinnings of wealth building between the races and lays bare the sad truth about racial discrimination in lending. " — John E. Taylor, President and CEO of National Community Reinvestment Coalition

"This book is unique. It is the first to focus on the role of lenders and the struggle over credit as a major contributor to racial segregation and the persistence of urban poverty. " — Peter Dreier, coauthor of Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together

"This book is a model for understanding contemporary policy issues. I found it fascinating, gripping, and accessible. " — Anne Shlay, Temple University

"The authors offer keen insights into the struggle to make credit available from traditional lending institutions in our cities' poorest neighborhoods. " — Tim Elverman, former Director of Government Affairs, Bank One, Wisconsin