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Legislative Alert: OCC Releases Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Community Reinvestment Act

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) inviting comments on modernizing the regulations that implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Comments are due 75 days after the publication of the ANPR.

 

The CRA was enacted in 1977 to encourage banks to serve the needs of the communities they serve, especially the credit needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Through CRA, each insured depository institution’s record in meeting the credit needs of its entire community is taken into consideration by the appropriate federal financial supervisory agency (i.e., the OCC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, agencies)) when evaluating the bank’s application for a deposit facility. This record is also made available to the public.

 

In just the last two decades, the financial services industry has seen many significant changes including the removal of bank interstate branching restrictions and the expansion of technology in financial services. Over the last several years, The US Department of Treasury (Treasury Department) has solicited comments and feedback from stakeholders on how CRA regulations could be more effective and better serve communities across the country.

 

On April 3, 2018, the Treasury Department released recommendations to the agencies for changes to the administration of the CRA based on the feedback and comments they have received. The OCC has released the above mentioned ANPR to obtain public input on how to revise the CRA regulations to encourage community and economic development and increase economic opportunity for LMI areas, small businesses, and other communities in need of financial services.

 

The OCC’s ANPR is inviting comments on a number of areas for CRA implementation, including ideas that will:

  • Encourage more lending, investment, and activity where it is needed most;
  • Evaluating CRA activities more consistently;
  • Provide greater clarity regarding CRA-qualifying activities;
  • Modernize the current regulatory framework by modifying and streamlining the existing CRA performance tests;
  • Create metric-based performance measurements with thresholds that correspond to the CRA rating categories;
  • Provide ways to update how a bank’s community is interpreted for purposes of implementing the CRA;
  • Determine the type and categories of activities that should receive CRA consideration; and
  • Improve the timeliness of CRA regulatory decisions. 

 

NALHFA is working on comments for the ANPR urging that CRA regulations continue to support the work of local HFAs and strengthen investment in affordable housing resources like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. If you have any contributions to NALHFA’s comments, please send them to NALHFA’s Policy Director, Heather Voorman at hvoorman@nalhfa.org by October 15, 2018. 

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