NCRC statement on nomination of Saule Omarova as Comptroller of the Currency

Yesterday, President Biden announced the nomination of Cornell Law School Professor Saule Omarova to be the next Comptroller of the Currency. 

Jesse Van Tol, President & CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement:

“This is encouraging to community leaders and consumer advocates who have long been frustrated by weak regulation of the nation’s banks and weak enforcement of federal banking laws. We’ve already seen that tide turn under Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu.

“We look forward to working with Professor Omarova toward a new and much stronger commitment throughout the OCC to make public benefits the agency’s priority, not bank industry profits. The OCC is supposed to ensure fairness in the financial system. It should serve the American people, not bankers.

“It’s time to drive bias and discrimination out of banking and its enduring damage to communities of color from 20th Century redlining. That needs to stop, and the OCC has a critical role to play by setting and enforcing rules to ensure fairness through laws that are already on the books. That should include continuing efforts already under way to issue and enact jointly with the FDIC and Federal Reserve Board a new set of rules to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act, including consideration of race. It’s also time for CRA to be updated to make racial equity in lending and financial services an explicit objective.  Congress needs to update CRA and apply it to all lenders, not just banks, including non-bank mortgage lenders that now dominate lending for home purchases. Congress should also apply CRA broadly throughout the industry. 

“The OCC has a great deal of work ahead to transform its culture and priorities to protect consumers and communities, and to ensure that communities and consumers can participate equally and fairly in a post-COVID economic recovery.”

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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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