OCC’s final CRA rule provides some transitional flexibility, bulletin notes

The impacts of the national bank regulator’s final rule rescinding the 2020 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations, which were issued only by that agency, should be limited given the delayed compliance dates for some of the 2020 rule’s more material components, the agency said in a bulletin Wednesday.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), in Bulletin 2021-61, said the final rule aligns the OCC’s CRA rules with the current Federal Reserve Board and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) rules, facilitating ongoing interagency work “to modernize the CRA regulatory framework and create consistency for all insured depository institutions.”

The agency noted that while the the compliance date for Tuesday’s final rule is Jan. 1, 2022, banks will not be required to comply with the rule’s public file and public notice provisions until April 1, 2022.

The OCC, in its bulletin, also noted that:

  • Newly designated large banks (banks that were small banks before the June 2020 CRA rule but are large banks under the final rule) will have one year to comply with the final rule’s data collection, record-keeping, and reporting requirements. (Under the final rule, a “small” bank is one with assets of less than $1.322 billion as of Dec. 31 of either of the past two calendar years, the bulletin states in a footnote.)
  • With respect to the qualifying activities criteria or retail or community development definitions, banks will receive consideration in their CRA examinations for activities in effect at the time the banks conducted the activities or entered into legally binding commitments to conduct the activities, including under the June 2020 rule;
  • Bank strategic plans approved before January 1, 2022, remain in effect except for any provisions that are inconsistent with the final rule.

The OCC said it will allow implementation flexibility to national banks and federal savings associations to the extent permitted by the final rule and related CRA guidance (such as the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment), including through the application of performance context.

The final CRA rule was published in Wednesday’s Federal Register.

OCC Bulletin 2021-61

Reg lookup: Community Reinvestment Act Regulations