Also: A historical analysis of the racial wealth gap in the United States shows little improvement, and Congress finds unionized workers faring better.
New report finds more than half of U.S. credit unions at risk of climate change-related losses
More than 60% of all U.S. credit unions — representing at least $1.2 trillion in assets — are exposed to the risk of climate-related damages and losses, American Banker reports. The finding comes from a report called The Changing Climate for Credit Unions, published last month by researchers at the Filene Research Institute and the Boston-based Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets.
The report’s authors note that credit unions have a critical role to play in addressing the financial challenges created by climate change, as well as the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. However, credit unions themselves are not immune to these challenges. From report:
“Thousands of credit unions (as well as many of the more than 100 million people who use them) face significant and as yet unresolved risks stemming from climate change. …There are increasing risks associated with increasingly extreme weather (fires, floods, hurricanes, etc.) and increasingly large transitions (such as changes in regulations, technology and other factors ), as well as legal and reputational risks, for credit unions across the country. ”
The report also offers advice for credit unions on building resilience through the way they operate, serve their customers and collaborate as an industry to “leverage influential networks for change.”
As Next City has According to reports, credit unions are becoming an increasingly integral part of the American consumer credit system, in large part because they serve a very diverse population that otherwise might not have access to affordable financial services. According to the report, there are now nearly 5,000 credit unions across the country serving more than $130 million people and representing more than $2 trillion in assets.
First study to analyze 160 years of racial wealth disparities finds gap between black and white Americans widening
Despite the progress made by blacks during the 20th and early 21st centuries, the racial wealth gap in the United States has not only failed to close since 1950; since the 1980s, it has actually expanded. That’s one of the findings of a recent report that, for the first time, examines historical patterns of racial wealth disparity from 1860 to 2020.
Ellora Derenoncourt, Founder and Principal of Princeton University Inequality Research Program, spoke with NPR on the research she and her colleagues have conducted on racial income inequality in the United States. According to data collected by Derenoncourt, wealth inequality between white and black Americans fell dramatically between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, the wealth disparity between black and white Americans has remained generally the same since 1950. Today, the average black American holds about 17 cents of household wealth for every dollar held by the average white American.
Derenoncourt and his colleagues created a “dream simulation” experiment to imagine what the racial wealth gap would have looked like if black Americans had been allowed to accumulate wealth at the same rate as white Americans after emancipation.
Experience shows that for black Americans to be in the same income bracket as white Americans, they would have had to overcome structural barriers such as segregation, workplace discrimination, trauma resulting from slavery and extreme poverty, exclusions from social protection programs, financial and zoning problems. barriers to buying homes in desirable neighborhoods; and difficulties in obtaining bank accounts, loans and stock portfolios.
Congress study sheds light on benefits of unions
Want a 10% pay raise? Consider getting a union job. A A study released by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and the House Education and Labor Committee on June 10 detailed the key economic benefits of unions for American workers. Among the most significant findings:
Unionized workers earn 10.2% more than their non-union peers, but also increase wages and benefits industry-wide, including for other non-union workplaces.
Unions also have a role to play in helping to reduce the racial wage gap: Unionization raises wages by 17.3% for black workers and 23.1% for Latino workers.
Unions are also good for health care. Unionized workers are 18.3% more likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance, and employers pay 77.4% more per hour worked for the cost of health insurance for unionized workers compared non-unionized workers.
In an interview with The Guardian Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott said he hoped the report would spur the Senate to pass the Protect the Right to Organize Act. “I am determined to fight the decades of anti-worker attacks that have eroded workers’ collective bargaining rights,” Scott told the Guardian.
The report comes amid a flurry of organizing efforts over the past year, including at Starbucks, REI, Amazon and even Capitol Hill itself.
Shania DeGroot is an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for the summer of 2022.