Washington, DC -- Bank and business trade groups recently were granted a preliminary injunction by a federal court in their ongoing lawsuit to block the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of Comptroller of the Currency from implementing updates to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that require big banks to lend to their entire community, particularly low-income and minority residents. The Center for Responsible Lending issued the following statement:

“The court should reject this transparent attempt to use the legal system to disrupt the rulemaking process and permit banks to maintain a high CRA rating while failing to meet the banking needs of the community,” said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). “It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that some big banks are attempting to block oversight of the industry’s lackluster record of lending to underserved and minority communities. CRA lending guidelines have not been updated in over a quarter-century, and are needed to create a fairer, future-focused financial system.”

Calhoun said the lawsuit shows that despite their lofty-sounding mission statements and messages of inclusion on social media, several big banks don’t want to be held accountable for following the law, or meeting the lending needs of their service areas, including low-income and minority communities.

“Big banks for years have been making false promises about lending to underserved customers and communities, during which their executives and shareholders got richer, while qualified minority loan applicants often were denied access to credit that would build wealth and create financial security for their families and communities,” said Calhoun.

Over the past 18 months, more than 25 companies and trade groups representing banks, funds and other firms have brought at least 15 suits against financial regulators over major rules, policies and supervision issues, according to Reuters. Industry efforts to hamstring oversight by banking regulators have forced other agencies, like DOJ and CFPB, to address lending discrimination issues.

“Banks can’t have it both ways,” Calhoun added. “If they accept the benefits and regulatory flexibility that allow them to earn record profits and grow through mergers, acquisitions and entering new lines of business, they also must take responsibility to provide lending to help create financial stability for the communities whose residents’ deposits fund their operations.”

Calhoun said the moderate CRA update proposal will help ensure that regulatory assessments hold banks accountable for serving all their customers and communities and provide a more robust, transparent, and objective framework for conducting CRA evaluations.


The lending requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act help build stable communities and enable consumers who have been underserved and discriminated against by financial institutions to move up the economic ladder. CRA text and legislative history make clear that the central goal of the Act is to advance urban and community development by assuring that banks are meeting the credit needs of their “entire community,” including low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.

View a letter CRL sent to banking regulators in support of the proposed CRA update.


Press Contact: Alfred King alfred.king@responsiblelending.org