The Real Deal New York

According to bank regulators, this luxury-filled area in Midtown is considered
low-income

Latest Census data is about to shake up neighborhood designations
May 18, 2017 05:10PM

Stock image of a broke man in a suit in front of the Fifth Avenue Prada location (Credit: Getty Images)

Don’t let the luxury towers fool you: the area of Midtown just south of Trump Tower is a low-income neighborhood.

At least, that’s how federal bank regulators have seen census tract 102, an area bounded by Park and Fifth avenues, 49th and 56th streets, according to the Wall Street Journal. Census data from 2010 puts the area’s median income at $45,019, despite the presence of buildings like the Olympic Tower and high-end retailers like Gucci. The tract is home to 230 people and 22 bank branches.

Midtown South: 49th through 56th Streets in between Park and Fifth Avenues (Credit: Google Maps)

Banks have flocked to this and other “low-income” areas to boost their scores on a key regulatory test that determines whether or not they can pursue mergers. The test, put in place by the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, aims to encourage banks to do business in lower-income areas. Banks get better marks on the test for loans or branches in lower-income neighborhoods.

The newest census data, however, boots six out of the 10 most popular locations across the country for banks into a higher income bracket. That includes census tract 102, whose new median income is $111,667, partially due to the fact that only 30 households answered the census survey. It’s not yet clear how these changes will impact the banks in the neighborhood. [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel