As CRA Rule Takes Effect, OCC Issues Compliance Resources

As the OCC’s revised Community Reinvestment Act rules took effect today, the OCC issued several compliance resources including a small bank compliance guide, an initial illustrative list of qualifying CRA activities and a form that banks and stakeholders can use to request the addition of an item to the list of qualifying activities.

The small bank compliance guide covers compliance dates (Oct. 1 for certain provisions and Jan. 1, 2024 for small banks to comply with several other requirements), qualifying activities, the CRA’s illustrative list and process for adding to it, assessment area delineations and data collection requirements.

The industry is awaiting guidance from the OCC on benchmarks to assess CRA performance. However, such benchmarks will be adopted over time; Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks said at an ABA event in July that “we will not be looking at CRA performance [under the new benchmarks]for large banks until 2023 and for smaller banks until 2024.”

In related news, with the Federal Reserve recently issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on its own approach to Community Reinvestment Act rules, Brooks today signaled the OCC’s openness to revising its own recently finalized CRA framework.

“I’m sure there are other ways of making this rule even better,” Brooks said at an industry event. “I’ve told the Fed that if they get good comments in response to their rulemaking, we’re not beyond the prospect of finding ways of improving it even more.”

ABA has urged the financial regulators to work together toward CRA reform. “Joint regulatory action will prevent confusion and avoid unintended consequences for banks and the communities they serve,” ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols said last month after the Fed issued its ANPR. “This is critically important as the banking industry works to meet the needs of low-and moderate-income communities and address inequities in access to credit.”