American Banker: Where OCC bent and where it held firm in final CRA rule

American Banker, May 20, 2020: Where OCC bent and where it held firm in final CRA rule

In its final rule revamping supervisory standards in the Community Reinvestment Act, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tried to satisfy critics of its December proposal who saw the agency moving the law away from its original goals.

Perhaps most notably, the OCC’s final plan waters down proposed number-based measurements of CRA activity that community groups had blasted, returning some discretion to examiners to judge a bank’s overall compliance.

Whether the agency has won over any detractors is yet to be seen. Some groups appeared to dislike the rule as much as before. Still, the result of a multiyear reform process led by Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting is a somewhat narrower reform framework that made several accommodations to critics.

“This is an awkward, disjointed and rushed move by a single agency that couldn’t get agreement from the two other agencies that regulate banks within the same administration,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “The OCC should have been able to agree and work with the other two agencies that oversee enforcement of the same law. It couldn’t. It failed. That’s an administrative fiasco.”

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