In what may become a model for other cities, a Connecticut town has pinpointed who needs credit and where they live.
Danbury commissioned a study to identify and measure the size of its minority community, define the financial services needs of its low-income population, and suggest approaches for banks to satisfy those needs.
Working with KPMG Peat Marwick, the city surveyed 1,000 minority church members and low- to moderate-income households.
"The Danbury needs-assessment project is significant because it can be used as a prototype for community reinvestment planning on a national basis," said Steven Roberts, partner in charge of KPMG's financial regulatory services practice.
The study found that the Danbury market needs more small start-up business loans, a marketing push in the low-income and minority communities, and more flexible underwriting standards.
It also suggested the creation of a pool of public and private funds for development of affordable housing and small business start-ups.
Area bankers said they will help meet the reinvestment needs identified by the study.
"We are working to develop an effective plan that responds to what the consumers, community leaders, and businesses in our area have identified as important banking needs," said Charles Frosch, president of Union Savings Bank in Danbury.