Through its Community Affairs function, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provides financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations and others with information and technical assistance on issues related to community and economic development, access to capital and credit for low- and moderate-income communities and the Community Reinvestment Act.

Community Affairs is currently working on the following initiatives:

Access to Financial Products and Services
Community Development Finance
Economic Development
Financial Education and Services
Ongoing Collaborations
Stored Value Cards: Electronic Payment Products Used by Unbanked and Underserved Consumers
The stored value card market is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing segments of the financial services industry. These products are being heavily marketed to unbanked consumers as an alternative to having a mainstream deposit account. Yet, little is known about the consumers who use these cards in lieu of having a traditional checking or savings account. Projects completed include the following papers: Stored Value Cards As a Method of Electronic Payment For Unbanked Consumers and, in partnership with the Center for Financial Services Innovation, Stored Value Cards: Challenges and Opportunities for Reaching Emerging Markets . Further research on consumers' use of these cards is underway.
The Earned Income Tax Credit Program: Using the EITC as a Tool for Banking the Unbanked and Promoting Saving
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to low-income individuals and families. Many eligible individuals and families fail to claim the credit; others fall prey to commercial tax preparers whose high fees and high interest rates for "refund anticipation loans" significantly reduce customers' tax refunds. During the 2003 and 2004 tax seasons, ORCA has worked with a group of New York City financial institutions to offer savings accounts to unbanked clients of the free taxpayer assistance program run by FoodChange. ORCA recently completed the study Householder Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit: Path of Sustenance or Road to Asset Building
46 pages / 386 kb.
Brownfields Redevelopment
Access to capital for the cleanup and redevelopment of Brownfield sites is key to the revitalization of many Second District communities. Recent changes to State and Federal brownfields laws, as well as the development of innovative financing tools targeting brownfields sites, should significantly reduce the complications and risks once associated with developing these properties. ORCA has been monitoring the development of new legislation and financial products which facilitate these redevelopment efforts, and facilitating the dissemination of pertinent information.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Brownfields
Investing in the Historic Preservation Future of Upstate New York Communities
Older cities have a supply of historic buildings which are underutilized. ORCA, in collaboration with its Buffalo Branch, is exploring ways that these communities can capitalize on the historic structures and leverage public and private resources to promote community and economic development and neighborhood revitalization.
New Markets Tax Credit Program
Community Development Financial Institutions ››
Economic Development
Rural Development Resources
Rural communities comprise a large percentage of the counties in New York State. While rural communities afford a high quality of life and scenic amenities, they are faced with challenges, including poor telecommunications and transportation infrastructures, out-migration of skilled and young persons and a lack of economic opportunities. The Buffalo Branch and ORCA are involved in strategic outreach and information gathering and dissemination on issues pertaining to rural Upstate New York.
Kansas City Fed Regional Research
Rural Policy Research Institute
State of the Upstate New York Micro-Lending Industry
Microenterprises (businesses with five or fewer employees) have been promoted for the past 20 years in this country as a tool for helping to provide economic opportunity and alleviate poverty. The Buffalo Branch is conducting a study to explore patterns of distribution and demand for microenterprise loans among minorities, women, and low-income populations in upstate New York, while considering a range of program goals and constraints. Data will also be collected and reviewed to point to effects of these loans on personal wealth and business growth.
Financial Education and Services
Get Financially Fit! Financial Education Toolkit PDF
9 pages / 426 kb
The Get Financially Fit! series helps college students take charge of their financial future.
The Warm-Up: Get Ready for the Financial Fitness Challenge PDF
2 pages / 212 kb
The Work Out: Take the Financial Fitness Challenge PDF
2 pages / 538 kb
The Big Weigh In: Take Financial Charge! PDF
2 pages / 434 kb
Creating Affordable Housing Solutions in the Hudson Valley
The lack of affordable housing is a growing concern in the Hudson Valley. ORCA is exploring opportunities to identify and facilitate the development of a regional approach to affordable housing issues in the Hudson Valley.
Policy Link OFFSITE
Ongoing Collaborations
Community Development Councils
These Councils, convened by ORCA, are information exchange forums for bankers, not-for-profit executives, Federal Reserve Bank of New York community affairs and compliance examinations staff to discuss community development issues. Members of the New York City-based Council meet on a quarterly basis.