WE NEED A FINANCIAL SYSTEM GROUNDED IN FAIRNESS.

We need a strong Community Reinvestment Act.

#TreasureCRA

Welcome to the biggest fight in decades for fairness in America’s housing and finance laws.

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.

Discrimination in lending is still a problem, and we’re concerned about ideas from some regulators that would substantially weaken the law. We can’t allow that to happen.

WE NEED TO MODERNIZE CRA, NOT RELAX IT.

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Take action, spread the word.

Our communities and leaders need to know:

We will not be silent while others try to dismantle one of the landmark laws of the Civil Rights era.

Keep up with the campaign to strengthen CRA.

Join our mailing list.

principles for a modern CRA

1.

Don’t strip ‘community’ 
out of a law that’s supposed to strengthen communities.

What we want:

Geography must remain the focus of CRA exams for all banks. We want banks to be graded  based on every geography where they lend or receive a significant percentage of their deposits. Lending isn’t tied to bank branches the way it used to be. But branches are still essential for low- and moderate- income people. Geography still matters. Neighborhoods still matter.

What we can't let happen:

We can’t eliminate geographic assessment areas. We can’t allow banks to cherry-pick where they lend – and where they don’t lend at all. We can’t allow banks to ignore the credit needs of distressed and vulnerable communities. We can’t allow a reboot of redlining.

2.

Protect communities of color with explicit language against racial discrimination.

What we want:

We want new language explicitly stating the law’s obligation to fairly serve all races and ethnicities. Banks that engage in large-scale illegal and harmful activities should fail their CRA exams.

What we can't let happen:

In 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) watered down the penalties for discrimination. We can’t allow regulators to allow banks to pass CRA exams if they discriminate.

3.

Keep all lenders accountable.

What we want:

We want the Community Reinvestment Act applied to all lenders, the same way it’s applied to traditional banks. The financial landscape has changed. Mortgage companies, credit unions, fintechs and other “nonbank” lenders now make the majority of the home loans in America.

What we can't let happen:

We can’t allow a majority of mortgage lenders to avoid CRA requirements. Banks and the Treasury Department have acknowledged that the financial landscape has changed, and that CRA should be updated to reflect the current marketplace and increase safe reinvestment in our communities.

4.

Set a clearly-defined CRA grading system.

What we want:

We want a clearly-defined grading system that emphasizes lending, branches, fair lending performance, and responsible loan products for working class families.

What we can't let happen:

We cannot allow a rating system that allows for abusive products or those that do not adequately respond to community needs.

5.

Don’t be afraid to let banks fail.

What we want:

We need regulators unafraid to stand up to financial institutions. If a bank fails its CRA exam, or wishes to acquire a bank with a better CRA grade, agencies should recognize and encourage community benefit agreements. We want to motivate a race to the top across our financial industry.

What we can't let happen:

This spring, the OCC weakened its CRA enforcement by allowing banks with failed CRA ratings to merge, acquire, and grow their business. We cannot  allow regulators to adopt this policy. The “wink and nod” CRA exam has gone on long enough.

Reforming CRA must not become a pretext for relaxing CRA.

Read the rest of our principles for CRA reform.

The fight is just beginning.

Spread the word.

Here are some things you can use in your email and social media messages to people you know and to leaders who need to hear from us.

#TreasureCRA

#JustEconomy

We need to modernize and strengthen CRA, not weaken it.

We will not be silent while others try to dismantle one of the landmark laws of the Civil Rights era.

The Trump Administration wants to dismantle all sorts of civil rights protections for minorities and communities of color. Now they’re talking about watering down rules that prevent discrimination in lending. We can’t allow this to happen. There is no good reason to make it easier for lenders to discriminate against credit-worthy borrowers. There’s still compelling evidence that discrimination remains a problem in many communities.

We support modernizing the law, and strengthening it. But discrepancies in lending to low- and moderate-income communities and people of color remain a problem in communities nationwide. Regulators should be working to set and enforce rules that solve that problem, not to making life easier for banks that are enjoying record profits.

The largest banks have retreated in lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers while 98 percent of banks pass their CRA exams. The law needs to be modernized and the rules and tests for compliance need to be strengthened, not weakened.

We have been fighting to strengthen and modernize the Community Reinvestment Act for over a decade. We must remain clear and consistent that the changes to CRA must not sacrifice the spirit and intent of the act – to increase access to capital, credit and basic banking services in underserved communities. We need CRA, and we need it strengthened and modernized to combat rising wealth inequality and place-based disparities in economic opportunity,.

Regulatory reform must invigorate CRA, not eviscerate it.

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. For decades, entire neighborhoods were excluded from lending to buy homes and build small businesses. Those were poor and working-class neighborhoods where minorities and immigrants lived. That practice was called redlining. It prevented millions of people from building personal wealth through home ownership and entrepreneurship.

The law made a huge difference. A trillion dollars or more went to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods that were once excluded from the American Dream.

But discrimination in lending is still a problem. We still need CRA, and neighborhoods still need lenders to live up to their obligations under the law.

  • CRA matters because we need a financial system grounded in fairness. We can’t allow the government to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act. #TreasureCRA #JustEconomy
  • Since 1977, CRA has driven inclusion and equity in the financial markets, leveraging trillions of dollars in responsible loans, investments, and services for traditionally underserved communities. #TreasureCRA
  • Reforming CRA must not become a pretext for relaxing CRA. #TreasureCRA
  • CRA exams must retain a local geographical focus. #TreasureCRA
  • Public participation is the heart and soul of CRA and must be safeguarded. #TreasureCRA
  • To combat rising inequality and placed-based disparities in economic opportunity, we need a vital CRA. #TreasureCRA #JustEconomy
  • Any changes to CRA should strengthen it and live up to the spirit and intent of the act – ensuring that low and moderate income communities and communities of color have equal access to capital and credit. #TreasureCRA
  • As politicians work to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act,, we must make sure they respect the spirit of this policy.  #TreasureCRA #JustEconomy
  • The largest banks received 2.5 billion from tax cuts in the last quarter, and now they want to walk away from working class and poor communities. In response, we are launching the #TreasureCRA campaign for fairness in banking. Subscribe to NCRC’s mailing list and follow us on social for what’s next in our campaign. https://ncrc.org/treasureCRA/
  • We will not stand by silently while others try to dismantle one of the landmark laws of the Civil Rights era. Join the #TreasureCRA campaign, nearly 500 national and local partners standing up together for fairness in banking. Subscribe to NCRC’s mailing list and follow us on social for what’s next in our campaign. https://ncrc.org/treasureCRA/
  • Word on the street is that the banking regulatory agencies’ opening salvo to “reform” the Community Reinvestment Act will be published imminently. It’s called an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or ANPR for short.
  • We expect the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking any day now. 487 civil rights and community organizations have stated that reforming CRA must not become a pretext for relaxing CRA. Read our joint letter:  #TreasureCRA
  • Hundreds of national and local partners from around the country are standing together to ensure banks continue serving the needs of low- and moderate-income communities.  We sent a CRA sign-on letter to all three banking regulators laying out guiding principles for CRA reform.
  • If the regulatory agencies contradict or contravene these principles, we will oppose the reform efforts. Check out NCRC’s recommendations for strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a law designed to stop discrimination in mortgage and small business lending.
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Principles for CRA Regulatory Reform

Reforming CRA must not become a pretext for relaxing CRA. The focus of these principles are areas we expect the federal bank agencies to consider in reforming CRA.

CRA SUCCESS STORIES