On June 11, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry told an interagency conference on minority depository institutions (MDI) and community development financial institutions that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has revised its policy statement on minority institutions to make it easier for those banks and thrifts to raise capital. Minority depository institutions, or MDIs, “are sometimes unable to accept equity investment capital from some investors because their status as a minority institution would be jeopardized if the share of minority ownership fell below 50 percent.”

The OCC’s new policy statement adds discretionary language that allows the agency to continue to treat an existing minority institution as an MDI even if it no longer meets the 51 percent ownership criteria provided that it meets two requirements. First, it must primarily serve the credit and economic needs of the community in which it is chartered and, second, that community must be predominantly minority. A mutual savings institution may be considered an MDI if a majority of its board is minority and if the communities it serves are predominantly minority. In addition, a mutual institution can be considered a minority institution if women comprise a majority of the board and hold a significant percentage of senior management positions.

Mr. Curry signed the OCC’s new Policy Statement on Minority Institutions on June 7. The amended policy statement raises interesting questions for non-minority institutions that meet the above two qualifications. Among other things, the minority institutions may be designated as community development banks. That designation may facilitate investment in such a bank by other depository institutions. For more information, see the Policy Statement on Minority National Banks and Federal Savings Associations.