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Chase branches close over unequal lending protests


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A handful of Chase branches temporarily closed in Chicago this week after protesters demanded that the largest U.S. bank by assets boost its lending programs to the city’s African American neighborhoods, according to WBEZ, a nonprofit public radio station.

The protesters are calling for reparations from Chase to make up for unequal lending practices. Since 2012, Chase has given out $7.5 billion in home purchase loans in Chicago, but just 1.9% of that money was loaned in majority-black neighborhoods, according to WBEZ.

Ja’Mal Green, a 24-year-old activist and former mayoral candidate, has been spearheading the protests with a list of demands geared toward helping predominantly Black neighborhoods in the South Side and West Side of Chicago. 

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The requests include $1 billion in grants for African-American homebuyers and small business owners for start-up costs. The demands also ask for $10 billion to cover home mortgage, small business and investment loans. 

“Chase tries to act like it’s doing its civic duty by giving away a few billion dollars here and there, but its governing policies are still racist when it comes to lending to lower class neighborhoods even though it has branches here,” Green told USA TODAY. 

Green vowed that the protests would continue at Chase branches across Chicago until their demands were met. So far, the protests have temporarily closed five branches this week and have been limited to Chicago, according to Green. Dozens of people are protesting at more branches Thursday afternoon, he added. 

“We will shut down every branch in the South Side and West Side of Chicago until Chase wants to do business with us,” Green said, calling on the Black community to stop depositing their funds at Chase.

JPMorgan Chase didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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