The Movement to Democratize Finance in the United States
with Clifford N. Rosenthal
Monday, May 6th,
Room 6112.04 (Sociology lounge)
CUNY Graduate Center,
365 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 100016
Clifford Rosenthal will be discussing his book, Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement (2018)
with Commentary by Mark Winston Griffith, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center.
Decades before Occupy Wall Street challenged the American financial system, activists began organizing alternatives to provide capital to “unbankable” communities and the poor. With roots in the civil rights, anti-poverty, and other progressive movements, they brought little training in finance. They formed nonprofit loan funds, credit unions, and even a new bank—organizations that by 1992 became known as “community development financial institutions,” or CDFIs. Clifford N. Rosenthal documents this movement, the institutionalization of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and the roots of democratic finance struggles in the early years of the republic in his new book Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement.
Democratizing Finance traces the roots of community development finance over two centuries, a history that runs from Benjamin Franklin, through an ill-starred bank for African American veterans of the Civil War, the birth of the credit union movement, and the War on Poverty. Drawn from hundreds of interviews with CDFI leaders, presidential archives, and congressional testimony, Democratizing Finance provides an insider view of an extraordinary public policy success. Democratizing Finance is a unique resource for practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and social investors.
CLIFFORD ROSENTHAL cofounded and for two decades helped lead the CDFI movement. As CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and later as the first director of the Office of Financial Empowerment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he devoted his career to bringing financial services to low-income and minority communities. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by The Center for Place, Culture and Politics.