Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Interagency Joint Public Hearing
“Responsible CRA-related lending and investing has been vital for low- and moderate-income communities. Over the 13-year time period from 1996 through 2008, CRA small business and community development lending has totaled more than $1 trillion for America’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.” ~Josh Silver, Vice President, Research & Policy
The current foreclosure and economic crisis was caused in significant part by unregulated and risky lending. The federal government has obligated $23 trillion in rescuing the financial industry. Two major rationales motivated Congress to enact CRA in 1977. First, Congress believed that all creditworthy borrowers needed to have access to financial services regardless of their income class. It was true in 1977 and still true today that few working class, blue collar citizens can pursue their American Dream or build businesses without fair access to the financial system. Second, banks must have an obligation to serve their communities in return for FDIC deposit insurance and the full faith and backing of the American taxpayer. Today, both rationales must be applied to the entire industry since government financial and institutional support rescued the financial industry from its recklessness. In addition, a broad application of CRA can safeguard the financial industry and return it to profitability by requiring safe and sound lending and investments in neighborhoods.
David Berenbaum, NCRC’s Chief Program Officer, testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives House Financial Services Committee, on the subject of the Housing Fairness Act of 2009. Click here to read the full testimony.