American Banker: Reactions to CRA plan signal long fight ahead

American Banker, December 15, 2019: Reactions to CRA Plan Signal Long Fight Ahead

Bank regulators moved the needle this week on efforts to reform the Community Reinvestment Act, but their sweeping proposal could set in motion a bruising battle to come.

Clear fault lines had already appeared before the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released their 240-page notice of proposed rulemaking, with the Federal Reserve refusing to sign on to the document and Democratic lawmakers criticizing the plan even before it was unveiled.

In a statement following the agencies’ release of the proposal, National Community Reinvestment Coalition CEO Jesse Van Tol was blunter in his assessment of the so-called single-metric approach for assessing CRA compliance.

“Along with the banking industry, we and our members across the nation share the desire to modernize CRA,” Van Tol said in a statement. “However, the Trump administration seems determined to radically overhaul and water down the compliance system by introducing a numerical measure of performance that has been widely criticized, by bankers as well as community advocates, as overly simplistic.”

Later, the community reinvestment coalition was joined by several other community-oriented organizations, including the NAACP, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development and the National Fair Housing Alliance. They said in a joint statement that the agencies’ CRA proposal “utterly fails to achieve what were supposed to be the primary objectives of rule changes: greater clarity for lenders and better results for low- and moderate-income communities and people of color.”

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