Otting’s protestations aside, FDIC, OCC extend comment period for proposed CRA rule changes to April 8

The public comment period on two federal banking regulators’ controversial proposal to revise federal anti-redlining rules has been extended 30 days to April 8, the agencies announced Wednesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued their proposed Community Reinvestment Act rule changes in December, setting a 60-day comment period that would end March 9. Despite urging in a hearing before lawmakers that more time be provided for the public to submit comments, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph P. Otting said there would be no extension.

Otting was testifying in late January on the CRA proposal before the House Financial Services Committee, where panel Democrats – including committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) – told Otting that a 120-day comment period would be more relevant to the proposal. They noted that, if adopted, this rewrite would be the first large-scale overhaul of rules implementing the anti-redlining statute since its inception in the late 1970s.

Otting remained adamant: The proposal had been before the public for some time already (prior to its Jan. 9 publication in the Federal Register), and the comment period would not be extended.

The Federal Reserve Board is not a participant in the FDIC-OCC rule proposal, and Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell told lawmakers last week he was not certain when or if the Fed might act. He also said discussions among the Fed and the other two regulators on this issue had ceased after the release of the December proposal.

In their release Wednesday announcing the extended comment period, the FDIC and the OCC said the proposed rule changes would apply to federally insured depository institutions supervised by the FDIC and OCC. The agencies assert that these institutions conduct approximately 85% of all CRA activity.

FDIC and OCC Announce 30-day Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Changes to Community Reinvestment Act Regulations

RR: Powell: No decision yet on Fed approach to reforming CRA rules; meetings with other agencies suspended (Feb. 11, 2020)

RR: Comptroller hears, repeatedly, complaints from lawmakers about 60-day comment period for CRA revisions (Jan. 29, 2020