Advocacy, Coalitions, Community Benefits

The Community Reinvestment Act was a landmark civil rights law passed in 1977 to end discrimination that was once common in America’s banking and housing markets. NCRC leads campaigns, community coalitions, advocacy with federal policy makers and negotiations with lenders to fulfill their obligations under the law.

Our #TreasureCRA campaign seeks to strengthen and modernize it.

Since 2016, banks have pledged more than $84 billion in lending and philanthropy through community benefits agreements negotiated with NCRC. We also serve as watchdogs, analyzing essential data to identify misbehaving financial institutions in our member communities.

Here are a few of our recent accomplishments:

Recent Victories

What is the CRA?
The CRA is a law that requires banks to serve the credit needs of communities where they take deposits, including low- and moderate-income communities. The law was passed in 1977 to reverse redlining patterns, and promotes neighborhood revitalization. CRA makes wealth building more accessible by creating access to responsible home ownership opportunities, basic banking services, and capital for small businesses. The CRA also calls on banks to support affordable housing, small business development, social services and neighborhood stabilization in low- and moderate-income communities. Since its inception, advocates such as NCRC, have used the CRA to secure trillions of reinvestment dollars for underserved communities.

Click here for a manual on the CRA and here to learn more about the CRA’s widespread benefits.

Community Reinvestment Summits
NCRC hosts community reinvestment summits where stakeholders get together to discuss the most important issues facing their community and how to productively address them through working in coalitions. We have recently convened summits in OregonOhio, Delaware, Maryland, and Louisiana.

How can you use the CRA?
NCRC offers crucial support to our members on how to use the CRA. NCRC provides research on bank behavior in your community, strategic consulting on how to approach banks, and other assistance to our members that increases their power to create positive outcomes for the neighborhoods they serve. We have brought hundreds of community groups into community benefits agreements with financial institutions.

Please contact NCRC for more information and to learn about the benefits of NCRC membership.

Policy Work
NCRC also works with legislators and regulators to strengthen the CRA, so that underserved communities have greater access to credit and capital.

Recent news on CRA:

Don’t diminish the importance of homeownership in CRA reform

With proposed changes to Community Reinvestment Act rules expected in late summer or early fall, we must remind federal regulatory agencies not to diminish the importance of home mortgage lending in CRA exams. ...

Report: Bank regulators need to plug loopholes in Community Reinvestment Act exams

The NCRC study, based on government exams of the nation's 50 biggest banks, found some banks get credit for investments outside of their assessment areas (AAs) even when those banks underinvested in the areas they are supposed to serve first. Meanwhile, other banks get little or no credit outside of assessment areas. ...

Why giant bank mergers like SunTrust and BB&T matter

Banks often tout the benefits of merging. The result depends on a variety of factors. ...

The purpose and design of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA): An examination of the 1977 hearings and passage of the CRA

A version of this article appeared first in Conference of Consumer Finance Law, Quarterly Report, Vol. 72, No. 4 Introduction ...

Small business lending data is the iceberg in our economic ocean

In September 2018, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released the results of a survey of 1,200 banks on small business lending in America. It found that small business lending is threatened by the decline of smaller banks and the reduction of bank branches in many communities. But just as revealing was what the survey didn't find. More information that would be essential for policy and regulatory decisions remains concealed, invisible to the public. ...

NCRC CEO testifies on BB&T/SunTrust merger

Testimony of Jesse Van Tol, CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, April 25, 2019, in Charlotte, North Carolina, at a hearing ...

Testimony of Jesse Van Tol, CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, April 9, 2019 – Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee

The Community Reinvestment Act: Assessing the Law’s Impact on Discrimination and Redlining   Introduction: Public input and accountability are the ...

Increasing community development financing data a necessary component for CRA reform

Data on community development lending and investing is lacking on a census tract level, making the information incomplete and difficult to assess. However, this is not the case for home mortgage lending data and small business loan data. If the federal regulatory agencies truly want to reform CRA, the first place to start is with better data. It would be a win-win for both banks and community organizations by facilitating identification of underserved areas. It would also further CRA’s objectives of directing access to credit and capital where it is needed most. ...