In a 43-48 vote Monday, the Senate rejected H.R. Res 90, which, if enacted, would have blocked Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rules finalized by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in May 2020. The OCC rules divert much-needed investments from lower-income communities and create confusion and inconsistent rules on how banks are evaluated for meeting the credit needs of underserved communities. The resolution passed the House earlier this year.
The CRA was enacted in 1977 to reverse the harmful effects of decades of redlining, where discriminatory practices cut off access to loans, investments and other bank services for communities of color and low- and moderate-income communities. Although the OCC, FDIC and Federal Reserve Board generally agree and jointly enforce CRA, neither the FDIC or Federal Reserve have joined the OCC’s rule changes.
Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement:
“It is disappointing that in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis, the Senate voted to back the Trump Administration’s effort to weaken CRA rules that require loans and investments in low- and moderate-income communities where banks take deposits. The rule changes will be particularly harmful for low-income and minority home buyers and homeowners, small businesses and local communities who need bank investments to recover equitably from COVID-19 and to revitalize their neighborhoods.
“The timing couldn’t have been worse. Why would you make it easier for banks to ignore the needs of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic? These communities need more access to credit and capital, not less. CRA has the potential to provide that capital. But not with the CRA rules that the OCC pushed through this year.
“Luckily, the Federal Reserve is developing their own bipartisan vision for CRA rule changes that is more in-line with the meaning of the law. We look forward to working with them as they develop their plans, and we are hopeful that all three bank regulators can come together around a new and better approach next year.
Baldwin (D-WI), Bennet (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Duckworth (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hassan (D-NH), Heinrich (D-NM), Hirono (D-HI), King (I-ME), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Manchin (D-WV), Markey (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Murphy (D-CT), Peters (D-MI), Reed (D-RI), Rosen (D-NV), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Smith (D-MN), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-NM), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warner (D-VA), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)