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Stronger Community Reinvestment Act Needed to Advance Racial Equity, CRL Says in Comment on Federal Reserve Board Proposal

Thursday, February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Community Self-Help (Self-Help) and its policy-focused affiliate, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), called for stronger rules implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) – a landmark civil rights and anti-redlining law – in their jointly filed comment letter to the Federal Reserve Board on its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).

Melissa Stegman, Senior Policy Counsel at CRL, issued the following statement:

The COVID-19 crisis has shown how the deck has been stacked against people of color as they look for a small business loan, a mortgage, or other opportunities to build wealth. This reflects intentional, discriminatory policies that shaped the financial system and led to systemic barriers to credit. The Community Reinvestment Act was enacted to address racial inequities in credit access, but its implementation must be greatly strengthened to live up to this promise. This is especially urgent as our nation experiences a reckoning on racial injustice.

We need a CRA with more teeth. A greater emphasis must be placed on advancing racial equity and ensuring that financial institutions address the credit needs of Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American communities. We need a CRA regulation that prevents lenders from receiving high scores for weak performance, includes stronger fair lending measures, collects better data and demonstrates data transparency, and encourages investments that provide real benefits for low-income communities and communities of color.

We are encouraged that the Federal Reserve Board has put forward a thoughtful CRA approach and we continue to urge the Fed, OCC, and FDIC to come together around a common CRA regulatory framework.

CRL and Self-Help’s comment letter can be read here.

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Press Contact: matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org