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State to aid flood moneylenders

Helpful banks to get reinvestment points

Saturday, August 3, 2013
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— Communities that are planning to rebuild following destructive storms over the past two years should find it easier to borrow money, thanks to a new state incentive for local banks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is estimating more than $3 billion of private investment should be freed up by banks looking to share in credits through the federal Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA.

Enacted in 1977, the CRA was developed to encourage local lenders to invest in the communities where they operate. It rates each bank on factors that include helping to meet the credit needs of its community, including low-income areas.

The state’s Department of Financial Services reports local bank data for the federal government to make its ranking under the CRA.

Banks that loan money in specific communities — those hard hit by the past two years’ weather — will get special credit and consideration when the state files its report cards, according to agency spokesman Matt Anderson.

New York is directing incentives to municipalities participating in the state’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program — an effort geared toward helping flooded areas rebuild and better shield themselves from severe weather.

“This program recognizes that New York’s effort to build back better must be a two-pronged approach with the state not only leading critical infrastructure and broad investment strategies but also providing localities the resources they need to invest in their own future,” Cuomo said in a news release issued this week.

“When we are done, we will have risen to the challenge of making our great state not only more resistant to future storms, but stronger, more prosperous, and more prepared for years to come,” Cuomo said in the release.

Other actions

The bank incentive is but one of several actions the state is taking to help communities rebuild. Others include:

u The Department of Environmental Conservation will prioritize and expedite applications review for projects proposed under the Rising Community Reconstruction Program.

u Empire State Development will prioritize funding applications for businesses affected by storms under the Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program.

u Both the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority will put applications on top of their review lists for projects to minimize future storm damage and for siting solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations.

u The Department of Transportation will expedite permits for highway work tied to the Rising Community Reconstruction Program. Applications will be reviewed within a week.

u The state Department of State will give preference to brownfield cleanup applications in Rising Community Reconstruction Program areas.

Locally, communities identified as eligible for the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program include Waterford, Rotterdam, Schenectady, Amsterdam city and town, the town of Florida, village and town of Esperance, Middleburgh, Schoharie and Montgomery County.

 
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