Regulators approve changes modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act
On October 24, 2023, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency jointly published a new rule to strengthen and modernize regulations governing how they implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a federal law that requires federally insured banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities. The new rule updates how CRA activities are evaluated, where they take place, and how they qualify for CRA consideration. Of particular interest to Indian Country stakeholders is the new focus on Native Land Areas.
The three regulatory agencies revised the rule to accomplish several objectives, including expanding access to credit, investment, and basic banking services in low- and moderate-income communities; adapting to changes in the banking industry; and providing greater clarity, consistency, and transparency in CRA implementation.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will develop informational materials and host events to share information about these changes. Watch this page for information on upcoming publications and events.
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 banks 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, revised in 2005, and again substantially updated in 2023.
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.