Expand the Community Reinvestment Act - Blog Posts

This is an image with Dory Rand, of Woodstock Institute, with CFPB Director, Richard Cordray, and other allies.
April 7, 2016

Leading up to and since the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) conference in March, Woodstock Institute has been part of the surge in work on, and interest in, small business lending and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) issues at local and national levels.

July 2, 2015

Woodstock Institute and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, along with 13 partner organizations, submitted a comment letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today raising concerns about Sallie Mae Bank’s banking and lending practices. Sallie Mae Bank is falling short on its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) obligations. This is largely due problems with its “non-traditional” private student loans, which are loans to college students with low credit scores, particularly those who attend for-profit colleges. In 2008, Sallie Mae Bank announced that it would discontinue making these type of loans, but they owned and serviced non-traditional loans during its CRA examination period. 

Dory Rand at NCRC2013
February 13, 2014

Every year Woodstock Institute staff and dozens of allies from Illinois go to Washington, DC, in the spring to galvanize the community reinvestment movement, learn about the latest developments, and visit our elected officials and regulators. 2014 is no different.

Tags: ncrc
December 5, 2013

A recent report from the UK-based Community Finance Solutions at the University of Salford and Woodstock Institute calls for the United Kingdom (UK) to adopt a banking disclosure act similar to laws in the United States (US).

May 15, 2013
The Community Reinvestment Act has been instrumental in promoting investment and financial services in low- and moderate-income communities, but it hasn’t kept pace with changes in the financial industry. We have an opportunity today to let bank regulators know that it’s high time to update Community Reinvestment Act for the modern era.
May 9, 2013

Things are different today than they were in 1973.

Unfortunately, the Community Reinvestment Act remains largely the same —and that’s a problem.

September 8, 2011

As you may know, Capital One recently applied to regulators to acquire ING Direct. The deal would create the fifth-largest bank in the country and raises substantial concerns about how the deal would impact communities.
 

December 22, 2010

Lack of credit availability is a key concern for the housing market recovery. As we discussed in our latest report, lenders are tightening standards as foreclosures and other recession-related negative credit events are taking a hit on many borrowers’ credit scores. For example, the Federal Housing Administration recently changed their policy so that they will only insure loans to borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher for their standard lending program. However, reports have shown that some FHA-approved lenders are requiring even higher standards for FHA loans. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, on whose board our president Dory Rand sits, is taking issue with that practice. NCRC recently filed fair housing complaints with federal regulators alleging that many top FHA lenders have underwriting policies that disparately restrict people of color from access to credit.

October 29, 2010

Richard Otero-Cintrón is the kind of person who knows how to seize an opportunity when he sees one. It’s how he became the owner of North Chicago Auto Service after starting out in 1990 as the maintenance man who swept the floors and made sure the windows were clean. Over the course of fifteen years, Otero-Cintrón earned the trust of the shop’s previous owner through his dedication and loyalty. When the previous owner passed away of pancreatic cancer five years ago, he left Otero-Cintrón ownership of 25 percent of the business and the rest to his widow.

October 6, 2010

Congress has an opportunity to spur job creation and recovery from the foreclosure crisis—and at little cost to the taxpayer.

October 6, 2010

Congress has an opportunity to spur job creation and recovery from the foreclosure crisis—and at little cost to the taxpayer.

October 6, 2010

Congress has an opportunity to spur job creation and recovery from the foreclosure crisis—and at little cost to the taxpayer.

October 5, 2010

Since 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool to ensure that financial institutions live up to their community investment obligations, but many of the opportunities for public input on how a bank served the community’s needs only occur when a bank applies to merge with another bank.  The past decade has seen considerable industry consolidation, resulting in fewer merger opportunities for public input. As a result of the ongoing financial and foreclosure crisis, the few large mergers that have occurred were the result of financial insolvency and have taken place on an emergency basis, with no public input for consideration of the merged institutions’ community investment commitments.
Under the American Community Investment Reform Act, a proposal to modernize the CRA introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-4), the public would be able to more effectively hold financial institutions accountable for their community development practices and the financial products they offer.

October 5, 2010

Since 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool to ensure that financial institutions live up to their community investment obligations, but many of the opportunities for public input on how a bank served the community’s needs only occur when a bank applies to merge with another bank.  The past decade has seen considerable industry consolidation, resulting in fewer merger opportunities for public input. As a result of the ongoing financial and foreclosure crisis, the few large mergers that have occurred were the result of financial insolvency and have taken place on an emergency basis, with no public input for consideration of the merged institutions’ community investment commitments.
Under the American Community Investment Reform Act, a proposal to modernize the CRA introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-4), the public would be able to more effectively hold financial institutions accountable for their community development practices and the financial products they offer.

October 5, 2010

Since 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool to ensure that financial institutions live up to their community investment obligations, but many of the opportunities for public input on how a bank served the community’s needs only occur when a bank applies to merge with another bank.  The past decade has seen considerable industry consolidation, resulting in fewer merger opportunities for public input. As a result of the ongoing financial and foreclosure crisis, the few large mergers that have occurred were the result of financial insolvency and have taken place on an emergency basis, with no public input for consideration of the merged institutions’ community investment commitments.
Under the American Community Investment Reform Act, a proposal to modernize the CRA introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-4), the public would be able to more effectively hold financial institutions accountable for their community development practices and the financial products they offer.

September 30, 2010

Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand applauded the introduction of the American Community Investment Reform Act of 2010 today by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

August 27, 2010

As bank regulators take a close look at modernizing the provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through a series of hearings and public comment period (you have until August 31 to submit comments), we’re walking you through some key reasons why CRA must be updated. We’ve gone over how assessment areas don’t fully capture where a bank does business and why a broader scope of financial institutions must be covered by CRA. Today we’ll explain how CRA doesn’t meaningfully measure how banks are providing retail banking services to low- and moderate-income people.

August 27, 2010

As bank regulators take a close look at modernizing the provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through a series of hearings and public comment period (you have until August 31 to submit comments), we’re walking you through some key reasons why CRA must be updated. We’ve gone over how assessment areas don’t fully capture where a bank does business and why a broader scope of financial institutions must be covered by CRA. Today we’ll explain how CRA doesn’t meaningfully measure how banks are providing retail banking services to low- and moderate-income people.

August 18, 2010

Community leaders turned out in force at the Community Reinvestment Act hearing held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on August 12 (see photos). The Chicago hearing was the third of four such hearings being held by federal banking regulators this summer to discuss whether and how to revise rules implementing the CRA’s requirement that federally insured depository banks meet the credit and financial services needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income communities, consistent with safe and sound practices. The CRA became law in 1977 and current CRA rules have not been updated since 1995.

August 17, 2010

As bank regulators take a close look at modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through a series of hearings and public comment period, we’re walking you through some key reasons why CRA must be updated. Last week, we explained how assessment areas don’t fully capture where a bank does business (see the discussion at Huffington Post). Today we’ll explain how CRA applies only to a fraction of the financial industry and why communities need a broader CRA to ensure that all financial institutions are offering safe and sustainable products where they do business.

August 17, 2010

As bank regulators take a close look at modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) through a series of hearings and public comment period, we’re walking you through some key reasons why CRA must be updated. Last week, we explained how assessment areas don’t fully capture where a bank does business (see the discussion at Huffington Post). Today we’ll explain how CRA applies only to a fraction of the financial industry and why communities need a broader CRA to ensure that all financial institutions are offering safe and sustainable products where they do business.

August 16, 2010

You can still make your voice heard on the need to improve the Community Reinvestment Act, even if you were not able to attend last week's hearing on CRA modernization at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

August 6, 2010

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, consumers will now have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to monitor and regulate potentially abusive financial products. It will be equally important, however, to ensure that all communities have equitable access to responsible and fairly priced products and to eliminate the bad ones. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool to encourage the provision of affordable financial services, but it must be updated to reflect the realities of today’s rapidly-changing financial landscape.

August 6, 2010

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, consumers will now have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to monitor and regulate potentially abusive financial products. It will be equally important, however, to ensure that all communities have equitable access to responsible and fairly priced products and to eliminate the bad ones. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool to encourage the provision of affordable financial services, but it must be updated to reflect the realities of today’s rapidly-changing financial landscape.

July 29, 2010

As Woodstock President Dory Rand noted, there is still much left to be done to ensure a fair and equitable financial system, even though the Dodd-Frank Act is now law. One major step is to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) so that all financial institutions are serving the entirety of communities in which they do business. The Chicago area has an opportunity to influence this process on August 12, when the Federal Reserve will be holding a hearing to consider CRA modernization. It is critical for regulators to hear from a large variety of organizations about why we must ensure that good products are available in every community – including low-wealth communities and communities of color.

July 16, 2010

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) should be updated give financial institutions credit for activities that support, enable, or facilitate projects carried out under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), says a recent public comment letter submitted by Woodstock Institute.

July 9, 2010

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool that has been used over the past 30 years to ensure that banks are meeting all the credit needs of the communities they serve, particularly low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.  It has been used to improve access to low-cost mortgage credit in underserved markets, promote the provision of sustainable financial services tailored to low- and moderate-income consumers, and encourage sound investment in underserved communities who badly need it.  However, many questions have been raised about how CRA can be used to meet one of the most pressing needs facing communities today—helping families avoid foreclosure when possible.

April 23, 2010

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, safe and sustainable credit will be necessary to revitalize neighborhoods, especially in those communities that have been hardest hit. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has driven trillions of dollars of safe and sound credit into low-wealth communities since its enactment in 1977. Experts from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the National Urban League, National People’s Action, and more made the case at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the CRA that expanding and modernizing this critical tool would help get America back on the path to recovery. Currently, the CRA Modernization Act of 2009 contains the important provisions critical to updating and expanding the CRA, although we expect a revised bill to be released this year.

April 15, 2010

As some of us scramble to file our income tax returns, others have long since filed. Unfortunately, many lower-wealth tax filers who need the assistance of tax preparers got ripped off with high-cost preparation fees and refund anticipation loans, or RALs – to the tune of $114 million in Illinois in 2006 alone. Faster delivery of refunds by the Internal Revenue Service and a little patience by tax filers can eliminate the demand for RALs, but many will still need the assistance of tax preparers to file their returns. How can tax filers pay for tax preparation services without getting caught up in RALs?

April 6, 2010

Woodstock Institute staff and members of the Illinois Community Investment Coalition (ICIC) left a big impression at last month’s National Community Reinvestment Coalition Annual Conference. Woodstock President Dory Rand, Senior Vice President Geoff Smith, and Vice President Tom Feltner shared Woodstock’s expertise with community investment advocates from across the country as presenters on panels with topics inlcuding strategies to influence elected officials, foreclosure prevention, and promoting sustainable lending.

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