OCC’s Otting Signals Fresh Look at Community Reinvestment Act

The OCC will formally seek public input on ways to improve Community Reinvestment Act regulations in the next 30 days, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said today. “It calls out for simplification in my mind and clarity around what CRA is and how you would measure one’s success,” he told Politico in an interview, adding that regulators should “create a simple benchmark that everyone can measure against.”

The American Bankers Association has long emphasized the need for CRA regulations to be updated. In December 2017, ABA sent a white paper on CRA reform to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin emphasizing the banking industry’s CRA principles of community commitment, economic growth, transparency, predictability, consistency and simplicity — and noting that most if not all the recommendations can be accomplished by regulatory action through exam procedures, guidance and interagency questions and answers.

Otting said in the interview that CRA evaluations should include small business lending and added that banks should receive more frequent feedback with clearer metrics — all of which ABA advocated in its white paper. ABA staff and a delegation of bankers are set to meet with OCC officials next week to discuss CRA modernization.