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August 21, 2009

Affordable Lending Opportunities Strengthened

NEW YORK – A Brooklyn financial institution has been selected to receive a $700,000 award from the U.S. Department of Treasury in support of its efforts to provide financial services to underserved communities.  The First American International Bank will use the funds to offer affordable home mortgage loans, housing development loans, commercial real estate loans and home improvement loans to the local community.  Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) applauded the local bank for providing responsible lending opportunities to New Yorkers.

“With a history of predatory lending targeting working and minority communities in New York, it’s vitally important to support financial institutions that offer affordable loans in the neighborhoods that need it most,” said Congresswoman Velázquez.  “These resources can go far to help expand affordable housing developments across Brooklyn.”

The First American International Bank is one of over 1,000 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) operating across the country.  Founded ten years ago in Sunset Park, the bank was created to predominately serve a large community of hard-working Chinese residents and recent immigrants.  The bank now has nine branches and four mortgage/credit offices across New York City: Chinatown in Manhattan; Sunset Park in Brooklyn; Flushing, and Elmhurst and Forest Hills in Queens. With over $560 million in assets, First American is the fastest-growing and the largest New York, locally-owned Chinese community bank in the last 20 years. 

“The First American International Bank embodies the mission of CDFIs by responding to gaps that exist in local financial markets.  In addition to providing affordable loans, the bank has made great strides in educating New York’s Chinese-American population about responsible saving and lending practices,” said Congresswoman Velázquez.

The Treasury Department resources were allocated by the CDFI Fund’s Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program.  The BEA Program was created to increase access to loans, investments and financial services in distressed communities.  Through the BEA Program, the CDFI Fund recognizes the key role banks play in promoting community revitalization by helping residents open new savings accounts, providing mortgages and investing in local small businesses.