A MDI in Philadelphia’s historic Chinatown providing small business loans to non-English-speaking Asian immigrants
Language is a hot-button issue in the United States. I’m sure we’ve all heard someone complaining about hearing a foreign language in public and ending their rant with “They need to speak English!” While many people realize how discriminatory this kind of statement is, it seems there will always be a group of people unwilling to accept foreign culture and language within our communities.
Non-English-speaking people can find it hard to receive service from any kind of business, whether due to language barrier, discrimination or other factors. This is one of many reasons that Minority Depository Institutions are so vital in today’s banking landscape, and Asian Bank in Philadelphia, PA, is one of the institutions that serves their non-English-speaking members extremely well.
In 1999, Asian Bank opened in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, one of the only historic Chinatowns in the U.S. with a growing Chinese population, and about 70% of the residents in this area speak no English whatsoever. The bank recently opened a branch in a northeast Philly neighborhood occupied primarily by immigrants.
The bank’s statistics are exceptional--most notably, their small business lending percentage: 50% of their lending portfolio. Yes, you read that right! Much of their lending is done in Chinatown, where small businesses owned by immigrants generate much of the local economic activity. 23% of Asian Bank’s lending provides mortgages, nearly 87% of which are offered in low-and-middle income areas. Finally, it has achieved a satisfactory CRA rating and has a solid return on assets as well as loans-to-deposit ratio, indicating that it is a well-functioning and effective bank.
While it is clear their targeted member demographic is Asian--specifically Chinese--immigrants, anyone can keep assets at Asian Bank, as they have many kinds of savings and checking accounts and online banking which allows you to transfer funds easily between them and an external banking institution. Asian Bank is a better banking option for anyone looking to partner with Asian immigrant populations in Philadelphia.