American Banker: 5 takeaways from Treasury’s call to action on CRA

American Banker, April 3, 2018: 5 takeaways from Treasury’s call to action on CRA

Bank regulators are gearing up to modernize their policy on Community Reinvestment Act enforcement, but the CRA reform effort appeared to benefit from a jump-start Tuesday thanks to the Treasury Department.

Industry representatives, analysts and consumer advocates all praised the Treasury report recommending a slew of CRA reforms that could serve as a jumping off point for regulators that seemed poised for another attempt at updating their decades-old policy.

Despite hope that policymakers are serious about bringing CRA enforcement in line with modern technology, including the growth of mobile banking, regulators have tried to update the law before, to no avail. Still, the Treasury report — which included recommendations to redefine CRA assessment areas and provide flexibility on CRA exams, among others — appeared to spark optimism.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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