Banking agencies extend CRA consideration 36 months for activities aiding PR, VI after Hurricane Maria

Banks’ community development activities to help revitalize areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Maria will continue to receive favorable Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for 36 months, federal regulators said Thursday.

The extension means such consideration will be available through Sept. 20, 2023, according to one agency Financial Institution Letter (FIL) announcing the new interagency decision.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued an interagency statement in January 2018 detailing their decision to permit such consideration, including for activities in the banks’ CRA assessment areas located outside Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The FDIC’s FIL-37-2021, with a link to the new interagency statement, notes that:

  • The agencies have determined that the ongoing impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands warrants an extension through Sept. 20, 2023.
  • The agencies’ Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Questions and Answers) guidance further explains that financial institutions may receive favorable consideration for such activities in a qualifying disaster area for 36 months following the date of designation by the federal government and that the agencies may extend this time period when there is a demonstrable community need.
  • Consideration will be given for all activities that assist the designated disaster areas or affected individuals, regardless of income. However, the agencies may give greater weight to activities that are most responsive to community needs, including the needs of low- and moderate-income areas and individuals.

The FDIC, addressing institutions it supervises, wrote that activities conducted by state nonmember banks receive consideration provided they have been responsive to the community development needs and opportunities of their own assessment areas. Activities conducted by savings associations receive credit as provided for in question 7 of OCC Bulletin 2020–99, it stated.

The OCC also published a release and bulletin on the interagency extension.

FDIC FIL-37-2021

OCC Bulletin 2021-27