In an an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("ANPR"), the Federal Reserve Board ("FRB") solicited public input on policies that would modernize the "regulatory and supervisory framework" of the Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA").
Among other things, the ANPR is seeking comments on:
- how to define a financial institution's local community for CRA evaluations;
- a proposed "Retail Test" containing two subtests: (i) a "metrics-based" approach that focuses on a bank's major product lines and the credit needs and opportunities of its assessment areas; and (ii) a qualitative approach aimed at improving predictability and transparency in the evaluation of "important aspects" of retail banking services (i.e., branches, delivery systems, and deposit products);
- a proposed "Community Development Test" containing two subtests: (i) a "metrics-based" approach that is unique to a bank's major product lines and its assessment area's community development needs and opportunities; and (ii) an approach that would assess community development services in a manner that is more cognizant of the value of "qualifying volunteer activities," particularly in rural communities;
- updating how states, multistate metropolitan statistical areas, and institutions are rated; and
- data collection and reporting requirements.
Comments on the proposal must be submitted within 120 days of its publication in the Federal Register.
Both FRB Chair Jerome H. Powell and Vice Chair Randal K. Quarles encouraged stakeholders with varying views to weigh in on how: (i) the CRA framework should be "modernized," and (ii) the burden of data collection and reporting can be minimized. Mr. Powell highlighted the goal of the proposed tests to incorporate "standardized metrics" in the examination process tailored to local markets. Mr. Quarles stressed the importance of the joint effort of the FRB, the OCC and the FDIC in updating the CRA, citing the ANPR as a "step toward achieving consistency across the three banking agencies."