WASHINGTON — A public interest coalition is calling on bank regulators to declare the drinking water contamination in Flint, Mich., a "disaster" and encourage lenders from around the country to extend credit to the area in order to counteract the damage.

John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said in a letter to the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Wednesday that the designation would help the area "repair and replace damaged pipes" — a cost that the city's mayor has estimated at $1.5 billion. Taylor said that some lenders will not offer home loans to the area out of concerns that the drinking water to those properties is dangerously unsafe.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.