Otting tours Memphis to continue promotion of proposed CRA rule changes

The comptroller of the currency toured Memphis last week to highlight successful examples of community reinvestment and promote the current proposed rule to update anti-redlining rules, according to a release with an issue date of March 6.

Joseph P. Otting, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Operation HOPE founder, chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant on Friday met with more than 60 bankers and community leaders, including Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, to discuss the proposal issued by the OCC and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to revise the rules implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the comptroller’s office said.

The OCC, in its release, said the group discussed “how the proposal could spur increased bank financing for small business, community development, and activities that financially educate and empower low-income residents in Memphis and struggling communities across the nation.”

The CRA rule proposal was issued by the OCC and the FDIC in January for a 60-day comment period ending March 9. Under pressure to provide more comment time, regulators last month extended the comment-due date to April 8.

Otting, testifying in late January before the House Financial Services Committee, more than once insisted there would be no extension of the comment deadline despite lawmakers’ urging a 120-day comment period. Otting’s stated rationale was that the proposal had been before the public for some time already (prior to its Jan. 9 publication in the Federal Register). Still, the OCC and FDIC on Feb. 19 announced the 30-day extension.

Only the FDIC and the OCC are party to this proposed rule, so the proposal would only apply to institutions supervised by those two agencies. Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell has told lawmakers 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.

The OCC notes that the Memphis tour is the latest in a series of outreach events and meetings by the OCC to highlight the value of CRA investments and raise awareness about the joint proposed rulemaking, which the agency says “seeks to strengthen CRA regulations and encourage greater bank lending and investment in communities that banks serve, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.”

Comptroller of the Currency Tours Memphis to Discuss Community Reinvestment

RR: Otting’s protestations aside, FDIC, OCC extend comment period for proposed CRA rule changes to April 8 (Feb. 19, 2020)

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