Nonprofit Quarterly, May 21, 2020: Under Cover of COVID, Regulator Rolls Back Community Reinvestment Act Rules
As NPQ has noted, the federal government has regularly used the pandemic as cover to surreptitiously implement unpopular policy changes. In March, this meant rolling back mileage rules for cars. This month, it means rolling back rules that promote bank investment in low- and moderate-income communities, and especially communities of color, even if the rhetoric of modernization is employed to cover its tracks.
Yesterday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released its final rule to “modernize” the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The rule was pushed through by director Joseph Otting literally days before he plans to step down from his position.
In a statement, National Community Reinvestment Coalition CEO Jesse Van Tol laid out the high stakes: “The timing is shocking, in the middle of a pandemic that has been hardest on lower-income communities this law is supposed to protect. What an insulting and cruel moment to unleash new rules that will in some cases help banks to do less for some poor communities and communities of color. Those are the communities hit hardest by COVID-19.”