Dems Press Regulators for CRA Reform

A group of Democratic lawmakers from both the House and Senate wrote to the federal regulatory agencies asking them to take steps to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act to address changes in the banking industry. Citing technological developments, the growth of online lending and the shift away from brick-and-mortar branches, the lawmakers highlighted a need to update the law — which was originally passed in 1977 — to better reflect how and where banks do business.

Specifically, lawmakers urged the agencies to reassess the current CRA grading system and make grades available to the public to increase transparency. They also recommended that regulators expand CRA assessment areas beyond where the bank’s physical branches are located and consider retail lending performance outside a banks’ assessment area; improve the CRA service test to include more robust data on how banks are serving low- and moderate-income markets; and increase efforts to ensure that the public benefits from bank mergers.