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Video: A conversation with OCC Acting Comptroller Hsu

Online Event Archive Recorded Monday, February 14, 2022

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) hosted an online conversation with Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu and NCRC President and CEO Jesse Van Tol. They talked about the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and the importance of banks meeting the needs of their communities, the racial wealth divide, adapting to digitalization and other topics.

Hsu said the “need for a stronger CRA has become clear,” and he outlined stronger CRA objectives that included:

1. Increased levels of CRA activity
2. Banks responding and engaging with local stakeholders and communities
3. More transparency and clarity around CRA standards.
4. Update CRA standards to reflect changes in banking (i.e. online banking)

Hsu also agreed with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that all financial institutions have an affirmative obligation to serve all communities. “Short answer, yes, like activities, like regulation.”

Hsu also answered questions from NCRC members.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is one of three federal agencies that regulate and oversee banks – including by setting and enforcing rules under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). CRA holds banks accountable to all the communities where they take deposits. CRA was passed in 1977 to end and reverse the impact of decades of intentional, explicit discrimination in lending and housing known as redlining. What CRA is supposed to mean for real people and communities: banks aren’t supposed to take your money as deposits and then use it to invest and lend in wealthier (or Whiter) communities.

The OCC therefore plays a crucial role in the work we all do to ensure the government keeps the promises it made in CRA. The opportunity to engage with Acting Comptroller Hsu is especially exciting at this key moment for our coalition. NCRC research has shown that the majority of communities that were redlined in the 20th Century are still lower-income and also predominantly communities of color.

 

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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