Straight into Compton: Comptroller makes 5th stop on CRA ‘summer tour’

Encouraging more lending, investment and banking services “in areas that need it most” were the stated objectives of the Comptroller of the Currency’s fifth stop in his so-called “summer tour” to discuss modernizing anti-redlining laws, the latest to the Compton area of Los Angeles.

In a release Monday, the Comptroller Joseph Otting (who heads the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)) said his visit to Compton – historically an “underserved” community – “solidified in my mind that we must update CRA regulations to drive more capital, more lending, and more services into underserved communities across the country.”

Otting also said banking has “changed dramatically” since CRA was enacted in 1977 and last updated in 1995. Consequently, he said, “we should act now to ensure CRA regulations keep pace with the needs of the communities that banks serve by clarifying what counts for CRA credit, updating where activity qualifies, making evaluations of bank CRA performance more objective, and reporting results in a more timely and transparent manner.”

During the summer months, the OCC stated, Otting has also visited Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, and Native American Pueblos in New Mexico in his tour touting changes to CRA, an anti-redlining law enacted after banks were found to be accepting deposits in underserved areas, but refusing (or neglecting) to made loans in the same areas. (The agency also announced a visit by Otting to Baltimore in August.)

Last week, the OCC released its latest report on CRA evaluations for national banks and federal thrift associations. The report found that, of the 26 evaluations of institutions “made public” during August, 19 of the evaluations showed “satisfactory” compliance with CRA laws and rule – and seven evaluations showed “outstanding” compliance.

No institutions were found to be “in need of improvement” or in “substantial non-compliance” with CRA requirements.

A review of CRA evaluations by OCC over a three-year period, published last fall by Regulatory Report, found that of the 714 evaluations made during the last 18 months of the administration of the OCC by Comptroller Tom Curry (appointed by President Barack Obama), and the first 18 months of the administration of the agency by appointees of President Donald Trump (Acting Comptroller Keith Noreika, and Comptroller Joseph Otting), more than four in five (82%) resulted in the rating of “satisfactory.” Only 16% were evaluated as “outstanding,” and 0.8% were rated “needs improvement.”

Comptroller of the Currency Visits Compton, California, to Discuss How to Increase Community Reinvestment