Quarles: Fed Engaged on CRA Reform; Seeking to Avoid ‘Gotcha’ Supervision

The Federal Reserve is looking at revising both Community Reinvestment Act regulations and the way the agency examines for CRA compliance, Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles said today. The effort comes as the OCC is taking a fresh look at modernizing and simplifying CRA regulation and supervision, with a formal request for public comment expected in the weeks to come.

Speaking at Operation Hope’s Global Forum in Atlanta, Quarles connected modernizing CRA to the agency’s efforts to boost small business lending and promote financial inclusion through bank-fintech partnerships. “The arrival of new financial technologies, along with significant industry consolidation and other structural changes, has changed the way that financial services are delivered to consumers and the ways in which banks lend in communities,” he said. “We continue to study these shifts, and share the common goal of improving the current supervisory and regulatory framework for CRA to further the statute’s core objective of promoting access to credit and financial inclusion.”

Quarles also highlighted the Fed’s efforts to ensure consumer compliance “and still reduce regulatory burden through a balanced program of tailored and risk-focused supervision.” The Fed is promoting simpler, more efficient and more transparent supervision where possible, he explained, “so that the institutions we supervise can focus on finding solutions that work for all consumers and communities. . . . Put simply, our role as supervisors should not be to play ‘gotcha’ with our banks, but to support their compliance efforts.”