Regulators offer CRA consideration for banks beyond hurricane-ravaged areas who lend a hand

Favorable consideration on community reinvestment requirements will be granted to institutions outside of hurricane-ravaged areas of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico when they help to revitalize or stabilize the areas, federal banking agencies said Thursday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), Federal Reserve Board and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) jointly announced the policy of granting favorable Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration to bank actions in areas of the U.S. territories that were designated as major disaster areas following Hurricane Maria early last fall.

“Widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria occurred in areas that are not connected to the U.S. mainland, and the resulting economic impact and other effects may extend to other parts of the United States,” agencies said in a joint statement.

“The agencies therefore have determined that it is appropriate to give favorable consideration to community development activities that help to revitalize or stabilize these disaster areas by financial institutions located anywhere in the United States, provided that they have been responsive to the community development needs and opportunities of their own CRA assessment areas,” the regulators stated.

The agencies said the activities in the hurricane disaster areas may include assistance to people displaced by the hurricane, including evacuees relocated to other states.

The three regulators also said consideration for activities that assist the disaster areas or affected individuals will be given “regardless of the median income of the census tract or the personal income of the individual.”

However, the agencies said, they may give greater weight to activities that are most responsive to community needs, “including the needs of low- and moderate-income areas and individuals.”

Interagency Statement on CRA Consideration for Community Development Activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria