Expand the Community Reinvestment Act

While the world of financial services has changed significantly since 1973, the Community Reinvestment Act has not. Woodstock Institute advocates to modernize CRA for today’s financial landscape.

Woodstock Institute Theory of Change graphic
April 20, 2016

In this first part of our Theory of Change series of blog posts and images, Woodstock President Dory Rand explains the ways in which Woodstock Institute is working to achieve our mission of creating a just financial system in which lower-wealth people and communities, and people and communities of color, can achieve economic security and community prosperity. In this series, our research and policy staff will discuss the strategies we use to effect positive, lasting financial systems change. 

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.

December 2, 2015

Presented by Spencer Cowan at the South Side Builders Association

December 2, 2015
This letter submitted with our partners comments on the needs to update regulations that significantly affect whether banks respond to the financial needs of low income communities and communities of color. We understand the EGRPRA process creates the opportunity to identify regulations that need...
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. 

June 30, 2015
This letter comments on Sallie Mae Bank’s performance under the Community Reinvestment Act. The letter urges the FDIC to hold Sallie Mae Bank accountable for poor lending and banking practices. The Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to work with low- to moderate-income communities to ensure...
November 6, 2014
This letter to prudential financial regulators urges them to strengthen their proposed revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Questions and Answers (Q&As) regarding retail banking and community development in order to ensure that financial institutions adequately meet the needs of...
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 17, 2013
This letter to the Federal Reserve, OCC, and FDIC supports several provisions of the Interagency Q&A Regarding Community Investment. The letter notes several concerns about the Q&A and identifies several areas where CRA needs to be updated.
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.

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