COVID-19 Community Impact Survey Webinar
Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic participated in a webinar discussing the results of this nationwide survey of nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, government agencies, and other community organizations. The survey was conducted in April 2020 with nearly 3,900 respondents serving rural, suburban, and urban communities. Bostic was joined by Atlanta Fed vice president of community and economic development, Karen Leone de Nie, and her counterpart at the St. Louis Fed, Daniel Davis.
Karen Leone de Nie: Hello, everyone. Let's go ahead and get started. I know that some people are still filtering in, but I wanted to welcome those who've been able to join us. My name is Karen Leone de Nie. I'm the community affairs officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. And so I welcome you to today's discussion of community impacts of COVID-19. I'm now going to turn the conversation over to Daniel Davis, my counterpart at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Daniel Davis: Well, thank you so much, Karen, and good afternoon everyone. It's great to join you for this session today. A couple of housekeeping items before we get started, I wanted to let you know we are recording this session to share later. We'll also be accepting your questions during the session. We'll try to get to as many of those as possible, but due to the volume of attendees, we may not be able to get to all of them.
So why are we here today? Well, if you're tuning into this session, you're likely already aware that the Federal Reserve works to foster economically resilient communities, and as a part of that, we regularly monitor the conditions of communities regionally and nationwide as well. Learning from and listening to the frontline entities working to support local communities is critical to shaping effective policies and programs.
So in April, the Federal Reserve conducted a survey of communities nationwide to better understand and collect information on the effects of COVID-19 on communities and also on the entities serving them. I'm going to be very excited later to dig into the results of that survey, but right now I'm thrilled to introduce you to President Raphael Bostic of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. President Bostic, thank you for joining us for this session today. It's great to share virtual space with you today. I'm very much looking forward to hearing your reflections on the Federal Reserve, the response during this pandemic, as well as on the state of the economy. And after your remarks, I look forward to diving into a conversation with you about the survey's results.
So President Bostic, I'll toss it over to you.
Raphael Bostic: Well thanks, Daniel. And it's actually very good to see you as well. I haven't seen you in it seems like forever and I half expected you to have a hipster beard, so this is sort of a welcome surprise.
Good afternoon, everyone. It's really good to see you all. I'm glad you were able to join us for this webinar. I want to just give a shout-out to Karen and Daniel both for their initiative in making sure the survey got off and will continue to provide us with information that will give us really good insights into what's happening in lower- and moderate-income communities. Those insights will then help us make sure that policies are as effective as possible. So shout-outs to both of you. Thank you for all your work. It's been really appreciated by me and by my colleagues.
What I thought I would do to kick off the webinar is really just give you some picture of how I'm seeing things today in terms of the pandemic and in terms of the Fed's response and what we might think about in terms of the economy.
When I talk about this, the very first thing that I take pains to make clear is that this is really a public health crisis first and foremost. Before we started having to deal with the COVID virus on our shores, the economy had been growing for 11 years continuously. Inflation was low. We were not seeing spikes of risk that would suggest that economic growth was not at a sustainable pace. And unemployment was at historic lows. Those are all things that we had been celebrating, and they suggested that fundamentals were quite strong.
Then the virus hits us, and the virus mandates a public health response, and that public health response is that we've got to be separate from each other, which means we've got to not do economic things that would keep us strong. And so this wasn't about excessive risk-taking that might have driven the Great Recession or Great Depression. Rather, this is really about the public health situation.
And that reality is really the shape of how I think a response should look like from policymakers, and it really is, in my view, the objective to preserve those fundamentals as much as possible, make sure that as we go through this crisis and we have the disruptions that we have that we don't create lasting damage such that all the good things that we had prior to the crisis can't actually revive themselves and lead us and drive a strong and robust recovery afterwards.
So, you think about what's happening with the shutdown. It's hitting families—they're not getting income. It's hitting businesses—they're not getting revenues. It's hitting nonprofits, who are not able to access their donors. And we're going to talk more about those impacts there. It's hitting governments as well, state and local governments who are not getting income tax revenues that have been deferred. They're not getting sales tax revenues that have been halted.
And what we know in all of these sorts of shutdowns is that the most vulnerable among us are usually the ones who get hit the hardest, that the disruptions are things that they're least able to manage and so the impacts are much more severe.
Now, all that's the backdrop. In terms of what we've done—and I will say we have learned a lot from history. History has taught us that when the Fed acts slowly and acts timidly, when economic dislocation happens, they're deeper and they last longer. And so starting in March, we actually got out in front of things and very much tried to act boldly, decisively to make it clear that we were going to provide support and relief to marketplaces however we possibly can.
And that last phrase—"however we possibly can"—is actually quite important because we're a central bank. We're not the fiscal side of the house so we don't give grants directly to individuals or organizations. Rather, we are in the credit space and the lending space, and we work through financial institutions and financial markets really to make sure there's enough liquidity to keep financial functioning happening, and also to see that the amount of credit that's made available to provide support is as large as it possibly can be. Because if credit markets freeze up, then we're going to see layoffs and business closings and financial hardships that are going to spread and persist.
And the reason why I want to focus on credit is because we know that the regular cash flows aren't happening. So if you don't have those cash flows, you're going to have to resort to credit markets in order to get funds to do the things that you want to do, whether you're a household or a business. And indeed, at the very start of this crisis, we saw a lot of businesses start to tap into their lines of credit because they had uncertainty about what they were going to be able to carry in terms of cash flows. And so we were starting to see those strains and those stresses and we really stepped in to try to smooth those markets and make sure that they continue to operate so that those markets are not stressed and there aren't spillovers into other parts of the economy.
So that's been kind of where we've tried to get to and I will say that the signs have been quite positive in terms of how financial markets have responded. The amount of interest rates that get charged to these markets that spiked to very high levels have all come down. They're still elevated relative to what you might have expected in terms of normal times, but they're far, far away from where we were at the height of the current crisis.
And I would also say, although our instruments are best suited for financial markets and credit flows, wherever we've seen stress and there's a possibility for us to act, we've tried to find ways within our legal authority to do so. So we've been present in terms of the Paycheck Protection Program and have actually really helped to reshape its functioning to make sure that nonbanks and the CDFIs—which are institutions that are really quite critical in lower-income communities and in minority communities and rural communities as well—have access to the program and can actually provide their services to get that relief into the other communities.
We're providing support also for municipal governments through bonds. We're looking at trying to help either hospitals and all these other places that are facing stress. These are things that we will continue to do as we fulfill our mission to make sure this economy operates in a sound and resilient way.
Now, what I want to say is, that's all the past. Usually when I get asked questions today, it's, "What's going to happen next? How should we think about the future?" And I would say that we really need to focus on two things. One is the public health side. This is a public health crisis so public health officials and the leaders have got to get that under control so that the trajectory of the virus is well understood and it's not a source of concern for consumers and leaders in business.
But the second thing has to do with the nature of the shutdown and its duration and how we get to economic recovery. And this gets to questions about as we reopen the economy: How do we respond to that? And what kind of things might matter? So, for me, I'm looking a lot about do we see congregations happening in ways that might lead to exacerbated or increases in infections, because those will potentially lead to a second wave that then induces a whole other shutdown. If that happens, I think that there are significant concerns there.
And our team right now is really trying to gather as much information as we possibly can because this is unprecedented times. The usual surveys that you would ask and go out on a regular basis don't give us the same amount of guidance that they might otherwise. So we are doing a lot of outreach at the Federal Reserve System. That's one of the reasons why we have you here today, because we think that you can be a good contributor to get us information so that we can do our policies in the right time and have the maximum impact.
Now, as I say, we're doing a lot of outreach. Let me tell you a little bit about what we're hearing. First, across the board, everyone has said, "This impact has been significant," and it really is across the board. So it's not localized in specific sectors. Certainly some sectors are being hit more than others because of the nature of their business, but pretty much every business out there is seeing a change in their experience based on the presence of this crisis.
Workers, clearly they're concerned about their job markets. They're concerned about income. They're concerned about how long this is going to last. They're concerned about—particularly those who don't have the luxury of working from home—how do they manage this and what kind of risks are they putting themselves and their families into, when we really are thinking about health insurance? And a bunch of other concerns
For businesses, what we've heard is, "We're trying to hang on, but we're not sure how long we can." Many businesses have told us in April that they had only several weeks or maybe a couple of months' worth of savings that they could fall back on, and so they're concerned. And we also know that smaller businesses and minority-owned businesses are going to be less likely to have that [inaudible 00:11:44] at all, and so the stress and strain there is going to acute.
And then I'm a housing guy, and so there's been a lot of talk and concern about housing markets. The good news I would say is we did not see a spike in foreclosures and evictions. But I talk to a lot of advocates across the country and they're really concerned that as this extends, whatever forbearance programs are out there or whatever arrangements families have with their landlords, they're going to get strained and stressed so the longer this goes, the more likely we're going to have a challenge in terms of housing markets and housing stability. And that is something that we are definitely paying close attention to and will continue to moving forward.
Now, look, this is a really hard thing. This is extraordinary. This is like a hurricane. Usually when we have a hurricane or something like that, it hits one market in one state. This is like a national hurricane and so when you think about the recovery here, it's going to require a lot of effort. And it's going to require effort across the board. This is not just going to be a Federal Reserve issue or a congressional issue or a state and local government issue. We're going to need philanthropy. We're going to need the private sector. We're going to need nonprofits. We're going to need financial institutions and banking institutions to all come together and think about good ideas and really be willing to go out and test them because we're really in an unprecedented situation.
Now, my goal is, as I said earlier, to get us to something close to where we were pre-pandemic. But I also want to make it clear that I understand that even pre-pandemic, there were a lot of communities that weren't working as well as they might have otherwise. So as we think about moving forward, first of all, that reality is going to affect the speed at which some communities can respond and will recover. So there's going to be a bit of diversity in terms of the pacing of that. But I do think that it's important that this crisis time gives us an opportunity to really step back and question a lot of the fundamentals that have worked in these communities and see if there are ways that we can work together to find both sources of relief but also sources of new relationship building, new network building, new models of how we invest and how we do entrepreneurship.
As I think about this, there are a couple of sectors that are going to be particularly important. What we have seen—and we think and talk about this a lot in the Southeast—is that philanthropic venture capital is rarer than it should be. And so finding ways to get venture capital and philanthropy to invest in communities that have needs but haven't been getting those investments is going to be an important thing. So I would encourage more creative sourcing of those funds.
CDFIs, as I mentioned before, they are mission-driven and they have relationships in many of these communities. I think we need to really make sure that they have a full voice at the table as communities think about moving forward.
I think government is going to play a critical role as well, particularly at the state and local level. They have a tremendous convening power and they have an ability, once we have a vision that's understood, to make sure that everyone buys into that vision as it moves forward, and that's something I think can be important.
And nonprofits also are quite important as well.
So there is a lot that's going on here. I would say that we have examples of success in all of these. You take Hope Enterprise Corporations in Mississippi. They're a CDFI. They're working with nonprofits and local governments really to make sure that they have full participation in the PPP program. And so they've underwritten on almost 1,000 PPP loans and the total is $67 million. But the most interesting thing here is that the average size of these loans, for many of them, are less than $20,000. So they're getting money to institutions, organizations, at the scope that they need and that they can manage in a way that you might not expect from something like Bank of America or a larger institution.
Now, I want to say that this is hard, again. There's no perfection here. And we're going to have to try a bunch of things and be nimble and be agile and respond with learning as that happens. And to that end, we have really, in our System, the Federal Reserve System, stepped up to try to do that. And I called up Karen and Daniel. We have community development people all throughout the system who are working hard to focus on supporting economic resilience and mobility for all communities. This is a strategic priority for the Atlanta Fed, but it's one that the System broadly has embraced.
In terms of how we do this and why I think it's so important that you're with us on this call is that we do this through intelligence gathering–getting out on the ground, talking to institutions, talking to leaders, talking to organizations that have relationships that we may not have as clear a direct sight line into. We try to talk to those folks, understand what's happening in that space, find out what solutions are, and then, to the extent that we can, we lift them up.
So I'm going to stop here. I'm going to say, "Thank you for being here." I'm really looking forward to the conversation. But before Daniel joins, I want to invite you to stay in touch with me and my colleagues at the Atlanta Fed. We do a weekly newsletter and if you text the initials of our organization, FRBA, to 33777, you'll get our weekly newsletter and know what we're doing.
I will also say you can follow me on Twitter. So I'm on at just my name @Raphaelbostic and that's another way that I try to keep people up to date with what's going on and how we're thinking about things at the Fed. So I want to thank you all for being here and I guess it's time for me and Daniel to have a little conversation, so Daniel, fire away.
Davis: All right. Well, thank you so much, President Bostic. I'm taking away several things.
Bostic: Stop that President Bostic thing. Just call me Raphael.
Davis: Raphael, I'm taking away several things already from your remarks that you've shared today, and I've captured a few highlights. I just want to mention a couple of those that seemed especially salient to me. You mentioned the real impacts you're hearing COVID-19 have on communities. From the concern for lower-skilled and low-wage workers, those who may not have the ability to work from home, may not access the benefits that often cushion the impacts that are experienced. You talked about how this is impacting businesses of every size right now. The significant impact on the business community and especially vulnerable perhaps, smaller businesses including minority-owned businesses at this time. You [missing audio].
And I heard you acknowledge the role of financial institutions including community development financial institutions, the nonprofits, the philanthropic communities, government entities, too. They're all playing a role in the response on the ground and then you've identified opportunities for collaboration and key roles that they can play going forward as well.
Many of these happen to be the same kinds of entities that we heard from in this survey that we conducted. And for those of you in the audience maybe who haven't had a chance to check out the report yet, this [missing audio].
Leone de Nie: Daniel, are you still with us? It looks like we may have had a little bit of a challenge with our connection. If Daniel is able to join us, I'll turn it back over to him, but in his stead, I will try to jump in and do what I think he was about to do. So just one moment. Bear with me as I get this started for us.
Bostic: This is an agility practice everyone.
Leone de Nie: Okay, Daniel was, and I appreciate the transition, so Daniel was telling us more about the impact of the COVID-19 survey that the Federal Reserve System launched and which many of you participated in. And so I want to start by saying, "Thank you so much for the time that you put into telling us what's happening in your community and what's happening with your organization." We very much appreciate that information. It's critical to making good decisions and helping us with our own roadmap, but also helping us be able to share this information with you and others that are making some very critical decisions right now.
So what I'm going to do is just show you a couple of the quick results from that survey in case you haven't had a chance to look at it yet. And then I'm going to pose some questions to Raphael to talk a little bit more about this.
I think you'll find it's no surprise, but when we asked the organizations what level of disruption is COVID having on the communities that they serve, 69 percent of them said that it was a significant disruption and that they anticipated that the recovery was going to be difficult. I'll have you keep in mind that the questions were answered in early April and things have changed a lot since then. At that point in time, there was a lot of organizations that were in early triage mode.
Let me talk a little bit more about the impacts that they were seeing in their communities. Obviously, as many of the governments did broad shutdowns, you saw massive losses of jobs and also losses of income from self-employment and that was leading to a significant inability to service debt and pay bills. At the same time, those closures, as we've already talked about, have had significant impacts on the businesses through revenue losses and supply chain disruption—and supply chain disruptions that you continue to see.
Obviously, as a public health crisis, health concerns remain top of list as well as things like preserving health, prevention of COVID-19 spread, but really a lot of the comments were about the limited availability of testing and personal protective equipment.
And finally, and repeatedly, we heard from many of the respondents that food and housing and the other basic consumer needs were very quickly being distressed in a lot of communities.
Respondents also told us that there are particular vulnerable populations that long-term disparities were driving a lot of the most deep and severe impacts in the crisis. Among those, we heard the challenge around the digital divide. As we move to these remote learning environments, remote work environments, remote access to services increasingly individuals that lack access to either broadband internet or a computer were struggling to be served.
So finally we asked about communities how long was it going to take before your community would recover and go back to previous conditions pre-COVID-19 crisis. Thirty-five percent as you see here said that it was going to take over a year and while we know that in some of these areas, the economy may be recovering right now, we also know that in low-income communities, that recovery often takes much longer.
So I'm going to turn off these slides for a second. I'm going to see…
Bostic: We have Daniel back.
Leone de Nie: Ah! Back?
Bostic: He was back.
Leone de Nie: Daniel, are you back?
Davis: I'm back, Karen. I'm sorry about that.
Leone de Nie: That's okay. We are resilient. So, Daniel, why don't you ask your questions and start the conversation with Raphael?
Davis: Yeah, of course. Thanks for walking through that, Karen. And Raphael, I'm curious as you hear Karen talk about those things, things like our survey takers mentioning that nearly 70 percent of communities have experienced a significant disruption that will be difficult to recover from and that over a third believe that an eventual recovery will take more than 12 months. How does that information shape how you're thinking about national recovery?
Bostic: Well, that's a good question, and I think that it's an important point for all of us to keep in mind that our communities started in different places when this started, which means that the impact is going to look different in the different places and its duration is going to be different. The thing I worry about the most is that once we get to a place where GDP is at 1½ percent or 2 percent as opposed to the negative number it's at now, people throw up their hands and say, "We're done," and we move on.
I think that will really not do justice to the millions of people who will be in communities that are still maybe just starting to feel like there's a turn in proceeds or in their fortunes. So, for me, I think it's really laid clear the fact that the relief portion of this experience we're going through is going to have to last longer than I think some people have in their heads. But I'm hopeful that as we move along we can be more nuanced in how it's allocated. So as we do see that a relief is really working and that communities are starting to turn around, seeing if there are ways that we can sort of repurpose those relief funds and get them into other communities where that may not be happening, just to make sure that we are providing an appropriate level of support for communities given where they were. So it's almost like a means testing for relief in terms of funds and timing.
Davis: Those employment challenges seem especially salient to me. Karen walked through those top impacts and income loss was kind of that key top impact that our survey takers told us about. How might you speak to our audience today about the challenges they're experiencing in their local communities when it comes to those employment challenges and how those may connect to recovery efforts?
Bostic: Well, the first thing I would say is, make sure that people, to the extent they can, are using the resources that are available. Unemployment insurance is out there for many. Please make sure that everyone is taking advantage of that because that can be an effective and important bridge to help people get through some of the issues.
Beyond that, I think it's important that workers stay in contact with businesses to the extent that they're staying open. Or even if they're not staying open, making sure they continue that contact so that when opening happens, they're positioned and prepared to restart their jobs.
Then there's a third piece which, I think, is actually on some level the most interesting and the most difficult but it's that this is triggering changes in how we think about how we work. I know at the Federal Reserve, at our bank, we were having a lot of discussions about whether we should ever let anybody work from home and overnight, they see everybody was working from home and we are discovering that there are a bunch of things that we could get done in ways that we didn't understand we can get done.
And I've talked to business leaders across the country and they're all coming to the same recognition. They're starting to say, "Well, maybe we'll look differently on the backside of this and maybe we'll deploy people differently. We'll use capital differently." And so thinking creatively and sort of proactively about what skills are the skills that we're going to need for tomorrow is going to be really important.
And in that regard, I think that it's important to just recognize that there are jobs available today for people that don't require four years of training or those sorts of things. We have on our website, for example, an opportunity occupations monitor which details county by county the types of jobs that are available that offer living wages, that don't require that extensive amount of training. I would encourage…this is really a time to know where your tools are so that you can make sure that people are using all the information that's available, because I want to make sure that no one is just sitting there wondering "I don't know what to do" and feeling lost and forgotten. We need to make sure that everyone gets some touch.
Davis: You mentioned in your remarks that it doesn't necessarily mean that everybody is still included in the economy that wasn't [missing audio] recovery to... I think I may have lost you for a moment, President Bostic.
Davis: You just mentioned in your remarks that everybody wasn't included in the economy pre-COVID-19, and so when we think about recovery, that still doesn't mean an economy that works for everyone. I'm curious, how do you think about or how might you challenge our audience to think about reimagining an economy that works for more people as we shift towards thinking about recovery? What could that reimagination look like?
Bostic: Well, I spend a lot of time working on issues around equal access to opportunity and making sure that we do all that we can to make sure that every American, regardless of where they live, has a reasonable opportunity to get a good education, have access to a job network, hopefully get access to capital. These are high-level principles and ideals that I think we have to continue to work towards, but I do actually think that this experience just in the last month-and-a-half has been quite instructive, that there may be some more creative ways that we can accomplish that.
I think about the role of technology in distance learning to provide training to families, and it may be that perhaps the next philanthropic push or the next charitable push would be to get a computer in everyone's home and make sure they have access to high-speed broadband. That may be the most effective thing we can do to tap people into information.
We're thinking a lot about just basic policies that we have as an organization that might make it more difficult for lower-income and minority families to operate in terms of reimbursements and the like. We're having conversations around payments and innovation in payments to make sure that innovators as they think about bringing their new tools to the marketplace have a consideration for how does this play out in minority communities and in lower-income communities.
I often tell a story about how the California toll roads went cashless, and I got on one of those things and I only had cash. We know that there are many communities and subgroups in our population where cash still is king, and if we innovate away cash, it's going to make it much more difficult for those folks to get to work and to invest and to do all the things that are going to make it possible for them to be resilient.
So there's a lot going on here, and I think there's a lot of opportunity to move forward.
Davis: It would be great maybe, Karen, if you could put the next slide up on the screen. Part of the survey was focused on trying to understand the conditions that entities themselves are experiencing. So, again, these are majority nonprofits and so if we look at this first slide, Karen, on the screen, we asked entities what level of disruption COVID was having on the entity they represented. And you can see that over 70 percent said there was a significant disruption, with 30 percent of those saying that it was going to be a difficult recovery.
We can go to that next slide and we can see that we asked about a range of changing conditions perhaps. Demand for services—entities told us that demand was increasing. Ability to provide for services seemed to be decreasing. Staffing levels, expenses, fee for service—all staying about the same. Some idea that philanthropic funds may decrease and that government funds may increase.
And then just one more slide. This last slide here, we asked them how many months their entities could operate in the current environment before exhibiting financial distress. And you'll see here that 25 percent said that it would be less than three months, which gets us to about July. And then another 26 percent said three to six months, which maybe gets us to September.
So, Raphael, I want to come back to you with the question, with this idea that demand is increasing and ability to meet demand may be decreasing, what, if anything, do you want to say to the frontline workers who are in communities doing what they can to respond to this pandemic? What can you say about the important role that they themselves are playing in the economy right now?
Bostic: Well, let me just say first of all, thank you everyone for all that you're doing, because this is an extremely special time, I know, for you personally and for all the people who are around you and the support that you're giving is really critical. You may not be hearing thanks a lot these days because people are kind of stressed, but know that we do appreciate all the things that you're doing.
The second thing I would say is look to each other. I've been really impressed. Here in Atlanta, the nonprofit community has partnered with the philanthropic community to raise the funds that is designed to provide support for a bunch of nonprofits that are providing essential services. It's been really quite remarkable how quickly the private sector has been willing to step up if given a structure to step into. My experience a lot has been that there are a lot of people who want to do the right thing, they just don't know what that thing is. And if you can ask them with some degree of specificity, you can get to a really muscular response.
So keep up the fight. Keep up the faith. It's really important that you do those things. See if there are ways to build coalitions that can provide support because the folks I talk to, if they're in a position to provide that help, they'll be happy to do so.
Davis: Karen, I think we've got just a few minutes left. I want to turn to you and see if there might be a question from the audience that we could pose to Raphael.
Leone de Nie: Great. Well, I appreciate the conversation so far. I am going to share one question from the audience here. What have you learned about COVID-19's impact on housing stability, including evictions and homelessness as well as housing conditions, particularly safety that have either given you pause as you thought about the crisis and also have given you any reflections on what a recovery should be focused on?
Bostic: So in terms of housing instability, this is actually a kind of a shrouded thing right now in the sense that we know people don't have incomes and to the extent that that job loss becomes permanent, that's a real-time crisis and there's uncertainty about whether that's happening.
The second thing we know is in many cities and states, there are forbearance policies that are preventing eviction from happening over a certain period of time. So it's unclear how this is actually going to play out. But what we do know is that stress has gone up for everybody. We know that these families did not have in many instances very much savings to fall back on. And so as the duration of this lingers on, the likelihood that we're going to have significant housing instability is going to be significant.
Now, I think about this in a couple ways. One, we need to make sure that those voices are not forgotten and that relief remains available for them. The unemployment insurance, as I mentioned before, I think that goes up to the end of July. That's longer than what we're seeing and hearing for many of our rental assistance programs and that's something that I think policymakers need to think about.
Then the second thing is this could be an opportunity to really ramp up the production of a lot of affordable housing. In a place like Atlanta here, we have housing shortages in specific places and neighborhoods that are the hot places. This could be a time to really try to see if we can galvanize some resources to maybe claim some parcels that might become available and then build quickly with a high level of quality to make sure that there is housing that's available for people where they need the housing to be, where they need to spend their time in terms of work and other things. And so I think that two-pronged approach is going to be necessary. Supply and preserving of affordable housing is going to be critical, but we also need to make sure that we don't forget that there's still some immediate relief that's needed.
Leone de Nie: Great.
Davis: Yeah. Just one more.
Leone de Nie: We have time for one more question and if we can keep our answer short, just to keep us…
Bostic: I'll be brief.
Leone de Nie: We have another question, and actually, I'm combining a couple of questions that I've heard from the audience. We talked a fair amount about community development financial institutions—these mission-driven institutions focused on providing access to low- and moderate-income communities. But a question has been asked, what is the role that banks should be playing, and what are some of the most important things that banks should be doing broadly to support consumers right now?
Bostic: Well, I think it's really important that banks take the stance that their customers are going to be in distress and that while they have to provide a service, they also need to provide a service that doesn't destabilize the very customers that they're hoping to serve over an amount of time. So whether that be forbearance or providing relief on mortgage payments or other kinds of debt payments, saying "You don't have to pay now your principal and interest and we'll extend the term of your loan so you can start that clock again later on." Or whether it's partner with a CDFI to understand where there are investible credits per se. Where the CDFI may have a different vision or sight line into certain types of businesses in certain communities that can create partnerships that can get the capital flowing into those places.
And banks are also working with small businesses through things like the Paycheck Protection Program. They actually are putting in some of their capital at risk so they're taking a 5 percent stake in much of this stuff to the extent that it's not forgiven. So they are stepping forward and the Main Street Program that we're going to put together is going to have a similar character to it. I think that it's important for us to ask our bankers to be partners with us in trying to be a piece of the solution when we think about relief and recovery.
I know that wasn't short enough, so I'm sorry about that.
Leone de Nie: It was perfect. Thank you. Daniel? Oh, it looks like we may have lost Daniel again for a moment, so I'm going to take this opportunity to say, Raphael, thank you so much. We really appreciate your time and you sharing your thoughts on everything that's happening right now.
Bostic: Really a pleasure to be here. I want to thank everyone who's on this for participating with us, for being part of our community. I hope very much that when and if you get the survey in the next round that you'll participate and help inform our understanding of what's happening in lower- and moderate-income communities. That's the only way we're really going to be able to even think about having a policy that's going to work for them and make sure that all policymakers are aware of what's going on so that when you call them, they're aware and they're already working on it, hopefully. So that's what we're going to try to have happen. It's only going to work to maximum effectiveness with your help, so please do join us.
Leone de Nie: Well, thank you so much for that. Thank you all for joining us. We have attendees from all over the country. I really appreciate your time. We will follow up on this webinar and share with you the recording of it as well as trying to answer many of the questions that came in through the Q&A that we were not able to get to today. So we'll be following up with that as well. Please reach out to us if you have questions, and we appreciate your time today. So thank you so much.
Bostic: Thank you, guys. Be safe everyone.