**FILE** TD Bank branch in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. (Matthew G. Bisanz via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** TD Bank branch in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. (Matthew G. Bisanz via Wikimedia Commons)

A recent opinion-editorial featured here stated that TD Bank needs to better serve diverse communities. We agree ― and we’ve acted.

TD is unequivocally committed to providing financial services across our diverse customer base. We do not consider race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or membership in any protected class in our loan underwriting process or in offering any other product or service. But we can and are doing more to serve the financial needs of diverse customers and communities.

First, let us introduce ourselves. TD is an East Coast bank with 1,160 branches (what we call stores), 25,500 colleagues and 9.8 million customers in our Maine to Florida footprint. TD’s purpose is to enrich the lives of our customers, colleagues and community members, which is embedded in everything the bank does. From 2018 to 2021, TD’s U.S. charitable giving totaled more than $110 million, and our colleagues volunteered nearly 262,000 hours and led 2,500 financial education seminars. We do not conduct business under the TD Ameritrade name — that is a separate company.

Access to physical banks in majority-minority and in low-to-moderate income (LMI) neighborhoods remains an area of opportunity across the banking industry. As TD Bank’s President and CEO Leo Salom recently announced, 20 new stores across our footprint are expected to be in LMI and/or majority-minority communities over the next five years, including four in Charlotte, N.C. In Washington, D.C., TD opened a store in the Navy Yard near the Anacostia River and will open a location in the historic Shaw/Howard University neighborhood this fall. In addition, TD has committed that we will not close any First Horizon branches once the merger is complete.

Our bank does need to be part of the solution to address historic and systemic home lending disparities in communities of color. Over the course of 2021 and 2022, TD implemented several initiatives and new products to diversify our customer base and enhance our ability to provide home lending options to all borrowers.

For example, TD Home Access Mortgage is designed to increase homeownership opportunities in Black and Hispanic communities. This Special Purpose Credit Program provides a $5,000 lender credit as well as expanded credit history and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio parameters for loan approval. We also enhanced our TD Bank Right Step Mortgage, reducing the FICO score requirements, expanding the DTI ratio and lowering the borrower minimum contribution from 3% of the loan to $500. For those who are homeowners and want to tap into their equity, we reduced the home equity loan minimum from $25,000 to $10,000.

In many urban areas, there is an affordable housing crisis. Stagnant wages, building, and gentrification have made home ownership and affordable rental housing unattainable for many people, especially in diverse communities. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the housing costs burden, when an individual or family spends more than 30% of their earnings on housing expenses, applies to 26% of moderate earners and up to 80% of extremely low-income earners for D.C. residents.

TD seeks to address this significant challenge by helping developers invest in affordable housing in D.C., including a renovation project underway along the H Street corridor, with half of the units reserved for those who make 80% or less of the area’s median income. We also donate through TD Charitable Foundation’s annual Housing for Everyone grant program to help organizations, including several recipients in the DMV area, build and renovate affordable housing units and mitigate housing needs.

Financial security and financial literacy in communities of color is another area of opportunity for TD, and we’re embracing that mission. We regularly hold community financial education workshops on topics such as understanding credit and first-time homebuying as well as sponsor nonprofit organizations’ educational efforts. Additionally, TD is working with HBCUs to equip students with essential financial knowledge so they enter adulthood knowing how to successfully manage their money. 

Finally, we continue to introduce new products and policies to help customers make informed financial choices and avoid fees. In August 2021, we launched TD Essential Banking, a low-cost, no-overdraft-fee deposit account to help customers establish a more secure, inclusive and sustainable financial future. We made several consumer friendly adjustments to our overdraft policies earlier this year, and plan to make additional overdraft policy changes this fall to assist even more customers avoid fees or insufficient fund penalties.

While TD has made strides, we acknowledge there’s much more work to be done in serving communities of color and that seeing meaningful positive results from these changes and new offerings takes time. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and communities.

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