Why we must modernize CRA: We can’t tell if all communities have access to basic banking services

Written by Tom Feltner and Katie Buitrago on August 27, 2010 - 10:17am

Bank branches play an important role in providing access to retail banking services, such as basic checking and savings accounts. Regulators measure how banks are doing in providing access to retail banking services on the CRA service test.

Why we must modernize CRA: More and more financial activity is taking place at non-CRA-regulated institutions

The percentage of assets deposited in banks and thrifts, which have community reinvestment obligations under CRA, has declined dramatically. When the CRA was enacted in 1977, households held 25 percent of their financial assets at CRA-regulated institutions. By 2007, that share had declined to 15 percent.

Why we must modernize CRA: assessment areas no longer reflect how banks do business

Regulators are in the process of re-examining CRA through a series of hearings throughout the country. We will be recommending key changes that must be made to CRA at the August 12 hearing at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Woodstock co-sponsors South Side training for upcoming CRA modernization hearings

The hearing will include testimony from policymakers, community organizations, and financial services leaders. Attendees not presenting oral testimony will have the opportunity to ask questions during several open mic sessions. Both panelists and speakers at the open mic must register in advance. If you are registering to testify and have not received a confirmation, contact:

Woodstock calls for limited and temporary expansion of CRA mission to reduce impact of foreclosure crisis, encourage donation of vacant, lender-owned properties

Written by Tom Feltner on July 16, 2010 - 2:10pm

The letter pointed to the growing number of vacant and foreclosed properties that have been shown to destabilize communities by lowering property values, straining municipal resources, and increasing violent crime. Investment in projects designed to mitigate the effects of the foreclosure crisis is a primary credit need in many hard hit communities, and the consideration of NSP-related investments, loans, and services under CRA will help evaluate how financial institutions are meeting this need.

How banks can get CRA credit for working to prevent foreclosures

One of the most common foreclosure prevention activities is a loan modification. In a loan modification, a bank or mortgage servicer permanently changes the terms of the original loan in order to make the monthly payments more affordable for the borrower. This lower monthly payment can be achieved through reducing the loan principal, lowering interest rates, or extending the maturity date, among other strategies.

TARP-Supported Banks Reduced Lending in Chicago, New Data Show

The report, Paying More for the American Dream IV, examines the mortgage lending patterns of banks, including the nation’s four largest financial institutions, in seven metropolitan areas in the United States: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York City, and Rochester, NY.

A strengthened and expanded Community Reinvestment Act would promote recovery, experts say at congressional hearing

“This law is about making capitalism work for all Americans, urban and rural, white and black, for men and for women,” said John Taylor, president & CEO of NCRC, at the hearing.  “Strengthening CRA would promote sustainable housing and small business development. It would create jobs and revitalize communities across America.”


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