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 regulation that implements the CRA was 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 Community Reinvestment Act 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 the March 2018 edition of our newsletter, Community Dividend, 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.