Damage from 2017 Hurricane Maria spurs agencies to extend period for banks to receive CRA consideration

Banks have a 36-month extension for recognizing activities that help to revitalize or stabilize Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands via anti-redlining rules because of damages caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, the federal banking agencies said late Friday.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the extension runs through Sept. 20, 2026.

“The agencies have determined that ongoing demonstrable community need remains in the designated areas resulting from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria,” the FDIC said in a Financial Institution Letter (FIL-51-2023). “As a result, the agencies are extending for the second time the period during which banks can receive consideration as part of CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) evaluations for disaster recovery-related revitalization or stabilization activities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through September 20, 2026.”

In January 2018, following the hurricane’s September 2017 strike, the agencies told banks in the Caribbean areas that “it was appropriate to give favorable consideration to community development activities by financial institutions located anywhere in the nation that help to revitalize or stabilize designated disaster areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.” In May 2021, the agencies granted an extension.

In the FIL, the FDIC said “consideration for activities that assist the disaster areas or affected individuals will be given without regard to median income of the census tract or the personal income of the individual.”

However, the FDIC letter said 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.

Agencies Grant a 36-Month Extension for CRA Consideration Given to Community Development Activities Responding to Hurricane Maria Disaster in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands