Better Banking Blog
Our Impact

A Lending Practice Designed to Fight Housing Insecurity

Feb 21, 2024

Cat Delorey from Housing Hope

As unhoused populations increase, communities deserve solutions

Safe, affordable housing is a basic human right. It’s a fundamental aspect of strong communities, yet many people in California, Oregon, and Washington live without it. According to U.S. News, over half a million people experienced houselessness in the U.S. in 2022, a number that has increased every year since 2016. The West Coast states continue to have the highest concentration of chronic houselessness and 30% of the American houseless population lives in California.

The data is loud and clear: the problem of housing insecurity in the United States is getting worse, not better.

Banks can help fuel solutions to this immense, pressing problem by allocating lending capital to the affordable housing sector. When we prioritize getting all our neighbors housed, real progress happens. Here’s how we moved the needle in 2022.

City park bench with homeless person's belongings under it

Our 2022 affordable housing impact

As we showed in our 2022 Impact Report, affordable housing is a top area of focus at Beneficial State Bank. We’re a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which means that at least 60% of our lending portfolio must be deployed to low-to-moderate-income communities. A large portion of this lending goes toward affordable housing initiatives. At the end of 2022, we had over $337 million in outstanding commercial loans to the affordable housing sector – more than any other impact category that we support – accounting for 39% of our commercial loan portfolio. So far, Beneficial State Bank has financed over 14,664 affordable housing units, and 9,170 of these are deed-restricted, which ensures they will remain affordable for the long term.

Infographic with 2022 affordable housing impact data

Our affordable housing lending supports for-profit and nonprofit affordable housing developers who work to build and maintain affordable housing complexes. “The most immediate financial struggle is the cost of building and being competitive in the building market with for-profit companies,” says Joan Penny, the Public Relations Manager at Housing Hope, a nonprofit affordable housing client based in Snohomish County, Washington. Organizations like Housing Hope also have holistic programming that helps unhoused people with things like job development.

Mother and three children sit on a front porch
Our Just Future, a Beneficial State Bank affordable housing client.
Children playing on a playground.

Keeping affordable housing at the core of our triple bottom line

We’re proud to provide lending to these mission-driven organizations and to prove to the wider banking industry that this type of lending is profitable and good for business. When we equally prioritize people, the planet, and profit – instead of profit above all else – banks can undoubtedly move the needle on housing insecurity in our communities. But we must make a conscious effort to make it a priority. That means talking with affordable housing developers and learning about their unique needs. In 2023, we expanded our ability to do just that by growing our Affordable Housing team. Until all our community members are living in safe, affordable housing, we’ll keep working to be the best banking ally we can be for the affordable housing sector, and we hope others join us.

It’s not easy work – these are complex and expensive projects. But when we work together and make positive impact a priority, solving society’s greatest challenges is possible. It's what our community needs, and we’ll continue to stand with our community until everyone is thriving.

Read more about our affordable housing impact in our 2022 Impact Report.

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People, Planet, Prosperity for All

We lend over $1 billion to support a brighter tomorrow, including affordable housing and the environment. When you bank beneficially, you choose to support people and planet.

Take action with your deposits.

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Banks are powerful, but so are you. When pooled together, our deposits can finance affordable housing, renewable energy, and business cooperatives – a new, inclusive economy. Whether you are an individual or an organization, where you put your money matters.