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Community Reinvestment Act

2020 Update

Proposed changes to modernize the regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is inviting public comment through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on a proposed modernization to the regulations that implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The Board’s efforts to modernize the CRA intend to more effectively align the regulations with today’s banking environment and meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-income households and communities.

To ensure that the final proposal meets community needs, the Board is seeking public comment on all aspects of the ANPR. The public comment period is open for 120 days, from October 19, 2020, through February 16, 2021, so that a broad array of stakeholders have the opportunity to share their insights.

The Minneapolis Fed will host virtual opportunities in November, December, and January for stakeholders across the district and across all of Indian Country to hear more about the CRA and the ANPR, share their thoughts with Minneapolis Fed staff, and learn how to submit formal comments to the Board. Please e-mail Community Development and Engagement Director Libby Starling at libby.starling@mpls.frb.org to be added to the invitation list.

Public comment on the ANPR will assist the Board in refining CRA modernization proposals to:

  • Strengthen the CRA's core purpose of meeting the wide range of banking needs of low- and moderate-income households and communities and addressing inequities in financial services and credit access;
  • Address changes in the banking industry;
  • Promote financial inclusion by including special provisions for activities in Indian Country and underserved areas, and for investments in minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions;
  • Bring greater clarity, consistency, and transparency to performance evaluations that are tailored to local conditions;
  • Tailor performance tests and assessments to account for differences in bank sizes and business models;
  • Clarify and expand eligible CRA activities focused on low- and moderate-income communities;
  • Minimize data burden and tailor data collection and reporting requirements;
  • Recognize the special circumstances of small banks in rural areas; and
  • Create a consistent regulatory approach.

Learn more about the ANPR:

About the CRA

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a 1977 federal law that encourages banks and other depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations.

The CRA is at the heart of many partnerships between financial institutions and community development organizations.

The act requires each insured depository institution’s record in its efforts to meet the credit needs of its entire community be evaluated periodically. That record is taken into account in considering an institution's application for expanded deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions.

CRA examinations are conducted by the federal agencies responsible for supervising depository institutions: the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Each of these sites includes the examination schedules and performance ratings for the institutions supervised by that regulator.

Interagency information about the CRA is available from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

The regulations that implement the CRA were revised substantially in 1995, reviewed in 2002, and significantly revised in 2005.

How do fair lending laws and the Community Reinvestment Act interact?

The fair lending laws and the CRA view lending through two different lenses: one focused on protected classes and one focused on income level. Yet despite the distinction, the laws can work in concert to promote more equal access to credit. Learn more in our March 2018 feature, Fair lending laws and the CRA: Complementary tools for increasing equitable access to credit.

Watch now: A video to get to know the CRA better

The CRA helps bring billions of dollars in bank capital to low- and moderate-income communities every year, but its provisions aren’t always well understood. Whether you’re a banker, community leader, or consumer, this short video from the Federal Reserve will help you get to know the CRA better.