Santander Bank's new program focuses on entrepreneurs in low-wealth communities in Boston
Part of the inspiration for the small business program, Robinson said, was a 2015 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston that illuminated the widening local wealth gap between nonwhites and whites. “The Color of Wealth in Boston” revealed vast racial and ethnic disparities in income, wealth, home ownership and debt burdens, with Boston’s nonwhite households showing a tiny fraction of the net worth of the median white household.
Among the many barriers that come along with lower income and wealth are greater difficulty in saving for retirement or helping the next generation rise out of poverty, and a steeper road to gaining the capital necessary to start and sustain a business. The report called for policies to spur asset development in low-income communities.
“[Santander] thought this was a good way to look at wealth building — building a business, and building wealth through ownership,” Robinson said. She said while other programs work with larger businesses, the bank and its partners wanted to zero in on smaller businesses that could make an impact at the community level and beyond.
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