Private Bank Public Values and Priorities Under the Community Reinvestment Act

Published date01 October 2023
AuthorAlexis R. Kennedy
Date01 October 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2023, Vol. 55(9) 1710 –1737
© The Author(s) 2023
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997231185841
Private Bank Public
Values and Priorities
Under the Community
Reinvestment Act
Alexis R. Kennedy1
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires banks to grant low-
income communities access to credit. Federal agencies monitor CRA activity
and rate banks on compliance. As an economic development tool, the CRA
supports private investment of public outcomes. This paper uses qualitative
content analysis to examine bank and nonprofit comments regarding
proposed CRA rule changes and bank shareholder reports through the
lens of the realized publicness framework, to explore how banks express
public values. This study finds that banks espouse public values, but that the
context of those values is not aligned with community nonprofit values.
realized publicness, Community Reinvestment Act, public values, corporate
social responsibility
The recent resurgence of social and political movements including Black
Lives Matter and anti-gentrification campaigns within American cities has
refocused decision makers to direct their efforts on promoting and passing
social safety net and social equity policies. Examples include childcare tax
1Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA
Corresponding Author:
Alexis R. Kennedy, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins,
CO 80523-1019, USA.
1185841AAS0010.1177/00953997231185841Administration & SocietyKennedy
Kennedy 1711
credits and infrastructure bills that promote spatial and environmental jus-
tice (Johnson et al., 2020; Kozlarz, 2020; McCulley, 2021; The White House,
2021). The private sector has long been a player in these efforts as private
organizations are the ones that are building roads and houses, giving people
jobs, and providing childcare. In the United States, public and private part-
nerships and collaborations have been the way in which many public ser-
vices are done (Kettl, 2015). While touted as efficient, with these
arrangements also come questions related to public values, accountability,
transparency, and effectiveness, all topics that have been explored in public
administration research and theory (see, e.g., Forrer et al., 2010; Hodge &
Greve, 2007; Kettl, 2015; Reynaers, 2014).
One way in which scholars have examined the interactions between pub-
lic and private organizations is through the concept of realized publicness, or
the ways in which organizations adopt public values and turn them into pub-
lic outcomes (Bozeman, 1987; Merritt, 2019; Moulton, 2009; Varkey, 2022).
This framework is useful in exploring some of the consequences of public
and private relationships as it has the potential to give public administrators
and policymakers the tools to manage private organizations in support of
public service. While the literature focused on this topic asserts that private
organizations can and do adopt public values (see, e.g., Moulton & Feeney,
2011; Reid, 2012)), less is known about how the public values adopted by
private organizations align with or differ from other stakeholder groups with
which they interact. For example, if private banks adopt public values
through their interactions with the community, nonprofit organizations, and
the public sector, in what ways do those values support these stakeholders’
goals and outcomes?
This article is the first to use the realized publicness framework to explore
this topic. This research compares public values and how they are publicly
discussed by banks and nonprofits in support of accessible credit markets
under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). How public values are
espoused by CRA stakeholders is important because public comments are
used by rulemakers to create policy that will ultimately determine the future
ways in which banks interact with and serve communities. Furthermore, as
private entities with customers, banks may also express their public values in
different ways depending on their intended audiences. Therefore, to better
uncover how banks are discussing their public values, this paper also exam-
ines shareholder reports and extracts private and public value descriptors
from these documents. This paper examines these tensions and explores the
public values regulated entities (banks) espouse in public-facing communica-
tion (public comments and shareholder reports). How do they compare to the
values espoused by community groups?

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT