For years, the Pacific Northwest had trailed other parts of the country in bank investments under the Community Reinvestment Act. This began to change when Oregon and Washington organizations joined with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) to negotiate Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) with the merger of Umpqua and Columbia Banks and with US Bank’s purchase of Union Bank. 

These agreements were built on the convening of the Oregon Reinvestment Summit in 2017, which Housing Oregon helped convene. This past month on October 11, Housing Oregon and NCRC brought together fifty people from a diverse range of organizations as the Oregon Community Reinvestment Coalition to begin identifying strategies for engaging with these banks as their CBAs go into effect in 2023.

Through these and additional agreements, Oregon organizations have an opportunity to build the capacity of Communities of Color led organizations, to implement Communities of Color mortgage initiatives, to transform community and housing development lending and to partner on Communities of Color and rural wealth creation strategies.  

Many of the same organizations participated in a meeting last fall 2021 with the CEOs of Umpqua and Columbia banks to share priorities for investments in their communities. As a result of those meetings, and with the leadership of NCRC, the banks have agreed to strong CBAs that include many of the priorities advocated for.

We now have a renewed sense of urgency to come together to identify strategies and action steps to hold the banks accountable to follow through on implementation of their respective Community Benefit Agreements.

Umpqua/Columbia Bank’s merger is committing a total of $8.1 billion, of which Oregon and Washington are the primary states. While a smaller dollar amount, this is a significant investment for Oregon. US Bank is committed to a $100 billion multi-state agreement.

In addition, NCRC is nearing completion of a CBA with BMO Harris which is acquiring Bank of the West, which has numerous branches in Oregon.

Housing Oregon wants to thank both Jerry Kellman, Senior Advisor for Organizing, and Catherine Petrsz, CRA Coordinator, both with NCRC, for their leadership on these efforts.

Several workgroups being organized will prepare a strategy and process for meetings with Umpqua Bank in early 2023, in areas already prioritized in the Umpqua Community Benefits Agreement. We are also exploring organizing a second Oregon Reinvestment Summit in autumn 2023.

If interested in getting involved, contact Brian Hoop at 503-475-6056 or