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About CRA

 

Community Reinvestment Act Information

 

 The Act (CRA)

 

The CRA was enacted in 1977 to prevent red-lining and to encourage banks and thrifts to help meet the credit needs of all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. It extends and clarifies the longstanding expectation that banks will serve the convenience and needs of their local communities. The CRA and its implementing regulations require federal financial institution regulators to assess the record of each bank and thrift in helping to fulfill their obligations to the community, and to consider that record in evaluating applications for charters or for approval of bank mergers, acquisitions, and branch openings. The federal financial institution regulators are: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Office of Thrift Supervision.

 

The law provides a framework for depository institutions and community organizations to work together to promote the availability of credit and other banking services to under-served communities. Under its impetus, banks and thrifts have opened new branches, provided expanded services, adopted more flexible credit underwriting standards, and made substantial commitments to state and local governments or community development organizations to increase lending to under-served segments of local economies and populations.

 

CRA Institutions

 

CRA applies to federally insured depository institutions, national banks, thrifts, and state-chartered commercial and savings banks.

 

OCC’s CRA Responsibilities

 

The CRA’s implementing regulation (12 CFR 25, et seq.) requires the OCC to assess a national bank’s record of helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. It also mandates that the agency consider that record in its evaluation of a bank’s application for new branches or relocation of an existing branch, bank mergers and consolidations, and other corporate activities. In general, the OCC conducts a CRA examination of a national bank every three years. However, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act mandates an extended examination cycle for smaller banks. CRA examinations for banks with an overall CRA rating of outstanding and aggregate assets of $250 million or less can be started no sooner than 60 months after the most recent CRA examination. Similarly, CRA examinations for banks with an overall CRA rating of satisfactory and aggregate assets of $250 million or less can be started no sooner than 48 months after the most recent CRA examination. Banks may be removed from this extended CRA examination cycle for reasonable cause or in connection with an application for a depository facility. The OCC publishes an advance notice of scheduled CRA examinations quarterly. A written performance evaluation of the bank’s CRA activities, including a CRA rating, is prepared at the end of each CRA examination and made available to the general public. The OCC encourages community and civic organizations, government, and other members of the public to express their views about a bank’s CRA performance to the bank and the OCC at the earliest possible time. This allows the bank to address any concerns and the OCC to take the public’s views into account in evaluating the bank’s CRA record and reaching conclusions about its performance ratings. If those comments are sent to the OCC, the OCC will also consider them when reviewing applications covered by the CRA.

 

Background & Purpose

  • The Community Reinvestment Act is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. It was enacted by the Congress in 1977 (12 U.S.C. 2901) and is implemented by Regulations 12 CFR parts 25, 228, 345, and 563e. The Regulation was revised in May 1995 ( See Regulation).
  • The CRA requires that each insured depository institution's record in helping meet the credit needs of its entire community be evaluated periodically. That record is taken into account in considering an institution's application for deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions. ( See CRA Ratings) CRA examinations (see Exam Schedules) are conducted by the federal agencies that are responsible for supervising depository institutions: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS).
  • The Consumer Compliance Task Force of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) promotes consistency in the implementation of the CRA Regulation by periodically publishing Interagency Questions and Answers, Interagency Interpretive Letters, Examination Procedures, and by facilitating uniform data reporting.

If you are interested in obtaining additional information about CRA, visit the website at http://www.occ.treas.gov or contact:

 

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Compliance Division
250 E Street, SW - Mail Stop 6-7

Washington, D.C. 20219

 

Telephone: (202) 874-4428
Fax: (202) 874-5221

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