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Financing for Sports Stadiums Could Count as Helping the Poor

  • U.S. is shifting what qualifies as helping poor under 1977 law
  • But one example, stadium financing, is already controversial
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. 
Photographer: Nick Wass/Getty Images

For decades, the U.S. has required banks to steer a portion of their money to people in poor neighborhoods. Now, under proposed rule changes, banks may finance upgrades to sports stadiums, call it helping the poor -- and potentially even get a generous tax break.

That scenario might seem oddly specific, but it’s what two regulators appointed by President Donald Trump said last week they may allow as they undertake the most significant rewrite of the Community Reinvestment Act in a quarter-century. The agencies drafted a long list of hypothetical ways banks could seek to meet their obligations, including this sentence on page 100 of their proposal: