Community Reinvestment Act
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been critical to the expansion of responsible credit for low- and moderate-income borrowers since its passage in 1977. Designed to address low levels of lending activity in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, it has helped spur a growing range of successful affordable loan programs that reduce credit access barriers. CRA expands the overall efficiency of the banking system by incentivizing banks to tap profit opportunities in underserved markets.
The Community Reinvestment Act ensures that banks make resources available to low-income or otherwise disadvantaged communities by offering “equal access to lending, investment and services to all those in an institution's geographic assessment area-at least three to five miles from each branch. In the case of large banks with many branches, the geographic area may encompass an entire county or even a state.” This policy was created as a direct response to “redlining”, a discriminatory practice used by bankers to avoid making loans to people of color or lower-income areas.
Cry Wolf Quotes
The Community Reinvestment Act should be repealed--not reformed or restricted but repealed! For no conceivable set of regulations on a bank is consistent with the objective of the Act to meet ‘the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operation of such institution.’ The Community Reinvestment Act was the wrong solution to a genuine problem, for the most part created by other government regulations. Until recently, federal restrictions on interstate banking and state restrictions on intrastate branching severely restricted bank competition in local markets and the potential for geographic diversity of loan portfolios. These restrictions have been substantially reduced, promising a more competitive banking system that is more responsive to the interests of both depositors and borrowers and less vulnerable to adverse economic conditions in specific regions...Don't try to fix the Community Reinvestment Act. It can't be done. Repeal it.
It is simply wrong-headed policy…[Federal and state banking regulations] require or aggressively nudge banks into subsidizing parts of the community [The proposals] would only aggravate the problem.
The important question, however, is not the default rates on the mortgages made under the CRA. Whatever those rates might be, they were not sufficient to cause a worldwide financial crisis. Once these standards were relaxed--particularly allowing loan-to-value ratios higher than the 80 percent that had previously been the norm--they spread rapidly to the prime market and to subprime markets where loans were made by lenders other than insured banks.
CRA has enabled special interest groups to collect billions of dollars from banks under agreements that are kept secret. Even the citizens that these groups purport to represent have no way of knowing how the groups spend the money they get from banks. That s why I hope the Senate will approve a sunshine amendment that will add accountability to this process and bring these agreements into, the light of day.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Shuts Down Critics of the Community Reinvestment Act
The Community Reinvestment Act had nothing to do with the subprime crisis.
Community Reinvestment Act Did Not Fuel the Subprime Crisis
The Community Reinvestment Act did not create an overabundance of risky loans.
Backgrounders & Briefs
Demos looks at ten laws and rules that we take for granted.
By Philip Ashton, UIC
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been critical to the expansion of responsible credit for low- and moderate-income borrowers since its passage in 1977.