After publicizing accusations of racial discrimination at Freddie Mac in employment and lending, Jesse Jackson is turning up the heat on Wall Street to do more investing in minority communities.
The civil rights leader met with Sanford I. Weill, Travelers Group chief executive officer, and Gene Sperling, White House economic adviser, on Monday to discuss plans for a mid-July conference on the topic, dubbed the Trillion Dollar Roundtable.
Also, Mr. Jackson said he hopes to create a quasi-private-sector company similar to Fannie or Freddie that could generate low-cost capital to invest in low-income, underserved communities without raising taxes.
Mr. Jackson, president of the Wall Street Project and the Rainbow Coalition, spoke of his plans in an interview on Adam Smith's Money Game scheduled to air next weekend.
In addition to planning a company modeled on Fannie and Freddie, Mr. Jackson chose a name for the conference that echoes that of Fannie's minority and moderate-income initiative "Trillion Dollar Commitment."
Representatives of the two secondary mortgage agencies bristled at the implication that they are not doing enough, though they acknowledged Mr. Jackson's ideas had some merit.
"No one is doing as much as we are in reaching out to minority communities," said a Fannie Mae spokeswoman. She called Mr. Jackson's reported proposal "an intriguing idea" but said Fannie was very proud of its record in making more than $110 billion in investments to 31 city partnership offices nationwide.
Freddie Mac said Leland Brendsel, chairman and CEO, agreed to participate when Mr. Jackson met with him last week.
"We are working on increasing our presence in markets that don't have adequate access to credit right now," said a Freddie Mac spokeswoman. Freddie hopes that its initiatives in the subprime credit sector will lead to more lending to low-income and minority communities, she added.
The Wall Street Project has bought shares in more than 80 companies, including CBS, Coca Cola, and Mellon Bank Corp., hoping to wield influence in corporate policymaking.
It opposes some large-scale mergers, but supports the Travelers-Citicorp and NationsBank-BankAmerica merger deals; both companies are working with Mr. Jackson on planning the conference next month.
Hugh McColl of NationsBank and Jack Smith of General Motors are among prominent executives scheduled to attend, Mr. Jackson said. Mr. Jackson's interview will be aired June 20 on public television stations nationwide.