Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry today encouraged bankers to participate in the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, which has since 2010 distributed more than $1 billion to states for programs that expand access to credit for small businesses.
“Some banks have voiced concern about how regulators would view loans made under programs, such as SSBCI, that otherwise might not meet the bank’s standard underwriting guidelines,” Curry said. “The OCC has emphasized in our guidance that as long as a bank’s actions reflected a prudent, comprehensive review of a borrower’s financial condition, generally, the bank would not be subject to supervisory criticism for participating in an SSBCI program.”
Curry also highlighted recently proposed changes in the Community Reinvestment Act questions and answers that, once finalized, he expected would “encourage banks to engage in more economic development activities that strengthen small businesses.”
The SSBCI, created in 2010 as part of ABA-backed legislation, distributes federal funds to states for programs that partner with private lenders to expand small-business credit. States must demonstrate a minimum “bang for the buck” of $10 in new private lending for every $1 in federal funding.