Why become a Leadership Bank?
Increased visibility as a partner in access to justice: The State Bar will prominently highlight Leadership Banks on its website, including their names first on the list of financial institutions eligible to hold IOLTA accounts, and including hyperlinks to their institution’s website. The State Bar will draw attention the Leadership Bank program in its communications and publications seen by attorneys around the state, emphasizing how selecting a Leadership Bank for IOLTA funds will increase funding for civil legal aid to vulnerable low-income Californians.
Marketing edge: Financial institutions will have permission to advertise their Leadership Bank designation and branding as evidence of their support for their communities and for civil legal aid.
Ability to obtain Community Reinvestment Act credit: Being a Leadership Bank will help financial institutions fulfill their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) by generating funds that will go directly towards assisting those most in need. Civil legal aid helps prevent homelessness, protect families, and stop wage theft, among many other areas that align with CRA development goals. Becoming a Leadership Bank is an investment in the community that contributes to its overall economic strength and stability
Demonstrated social responsibility: Financial institutions care about their customers and their communities. This is another way to support veterans, seniors, and low-income Californians struggling with disability benefits, medical care, and their financial health. The California Justice Gap Study estimates that 33 percent of the problems that low-income Californians seek help for will not be resolved due to insufficient resources. In fact, in the past year only 27 percent of low-income Californians received some legal help for issues that matter the most to them; less significant issues received even less support. The Leadership Bank program is an immediate and critical means to start filling the gap by providing additional interest on IOLTA accounts that in turn will fund more services to these clients.
Source: State Bar of California, The California Justice Gap Study: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Californians (2019).