Berkshire Bank CEO Richard Marotta Statement on Why Access to Capital Needs Be Front and Center in 2020 Election Cycle
September 16, 2019
Boston, Massachusetts—In response to the current political debates, Richard Marotta, CEO of Berkshire Bank, is sharing the following statement:
“As the CEO of Berkshire Bank, I know first-hand the financial strain that many Americans are under. The communities where our banks are located are representative of the population at large. On a daily basis our bankers engage with small business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, hourly wage earners, and everyone in between. These are hardworking individuals who are the backbone of our country and yet their needs and interests are rarely discussed in much depth. It has been surprising to observe the political discourse over the past few months and hear little mention of concrete economic growth plans that candidates and policymakers would offer Americans to help them build economic stability and wealth. Beyond “tax cuts vs. tax hikes”, there are myriad ways that the federal government can help to spur economic growth and bridge the wealth gap in this country, especially for low-income communities and people of color, from economic stimuli, to homeownership programs, to small business development, and more.
At Berkshire Bank we have made it our mission to invest in our communities because we know that those investments will pay dividends for decades to come. Banks have unfortunately been seen as an obstacle to wealth building for low-income communities and communities of color—and it’s no wonder given the long history of discriminatory economic policies and practices in America that too often extracted wealth from underserved communities rather than helping to generate it.
I’m proud of the role that Berkshire is playing to disrupt this narrative and close the racial wealth gap, and anticipate that programs like our new Friends & Family Fund powered by the Runway Project will serve as a model of how banks can expand access to capital and spur economic development in communities that have been traditionally left behind. We are doing our part to invest in our communities, because we know that banks can’t continue to grow future profits unless we grow our relationships with our customers. The same is true for the American economy. It is imperative that policy-makers and politicians alike enter into thoughtful discussion on how to expand access to capital to those that have been left behind because their future success is intertwined with the nation’s success. We must begin to create an economy and a banking industry that is inclusive and works for all people, and Berkshire looks forward to helping to lead the way.”