The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released OCC Bulletin 2014-44 on September 10, 2014, requesting comments on proposed revisions to the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment. The most recent Q&As were published in March 2010. Included in the proposed Q&A is guidance addressing community and economic development-related issues.

The existing and proposed Q&As include a presumption that any loan or investment in a New Markets Venture Capital Company or New Markets Tax Credit-eligible Community Development Entity promotes economic development.

The proposed Q&As attempt to clarify how loans related to renewable energy or energy efficient technologies may fit within the meaning of “community development loan” under the CRA regulations, although the community development benefit may be an indirect benefit that is difficult to quantify. Accordingly, the agencies have included, as an example of a community development loan, loans made to borrowers to finance renewable energy or energy-efficient equipment or projects that support the development of, rehabilitation, improvement, or maintenance of affordable housing or community facilities (including the abatement or remediation of environmental hazards present), even if the benefit to low- or moderate-income individuals from reduced cost of operations is indirect, such as reduced cost of providing electricity to common areas of an affordable housing development. The agencies have specifically requested comments on whether such loans should be considered under the CRA regulations and whether the proposed revisions make clear which energy-efficiency activities would be considered under the CRA.

The proposed Q&A can be found here. The OCC requests comments on the proposed Q&A by November 10, 2014.