OCC Pursues Weakening of CRA Despite COVID-19 Impacts

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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has released its final regulation on compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). While the proposal was issued with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the FDIC did not join the OCC’s final rule. The agencies received over 9000 comments, but the OCC finalized its rule only six weeks after the comment deadline on the proposed rule.

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OCC Weakening The CRA

The CRA is an anti-redlining statute that was put in place to address the longstanding exclusion of communities of color and low-and-moderate income families from access to adequate financial services and affordable sustainable credit. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, black homeownership was already at historically low levels nationwide and the racial wealth gap was widening, leaving communities of color with far less wealth and fewer resources for emergencies. COVID-19 has been particularly devastating for African-Americans, low-income families, and immigrants, who are bearing the brunt of the resulting economic fallout as well.

“At a time when the entire country is reeling from on ongoing public health crisis, OCC has made the unconscionable decision to barrel ahead with its plan to weaken a longstanding framework for addressing discrimination and injustice in lending,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. “The OCC's fast-track approach to changing the CRA's rules will exacerbate the economic damage of the pandemic on communities of color and less wealthy neighborhoods.”

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