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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OCC reconsiders CRA final rule

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues OCC CRA Bank Compliance

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On May 18, the OCC announced it will reconsider its 2020 final rule overhauling the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). As previously covered by a Buckley Special Alert, the 2020 final rule, finalized last year, was intended to modernize the regulatory framework implementing the CRA by, among other things: (i) updating deposit-based assessment areas; (ii) mandating the inclusion of consumer loans in CRA evaluations; (iii) including quantitative metric-based benchmarks for determining a bank’s CRA rating; and (iv) including a non-exhaustive illustrative list of activities that qualify for CRA consideration.

“While this reconsideration is ongoing, the OCC will not object to the suspension of the development of systems for, or other implementation of, provisions with a compliance date of January 1, 2023, or January 1, 2024, under the 2020 CRA rule,” the OCC stated. The agency further stressed that its decision to suspend compliance deadlines for the 2020 final rule “will provide for an orderly reconsideration of the June 2020 rule” and “provide the OCC with the opportunity to consider additional stakeholder input, to evaluate issues and questions that have been raised, to reassess the necessary data, and to take additional regulatory action, as appropriate.” The OCC also added that it does not plan to finalize a December 2020 proposed rule covering evaluation measure benchmarks, retail lending distribution test thresholds, and community development minimums under the new general performance standards outlined in the 2020 final rule (covered by InfoBytes here). Moreover, the agency will discontinue the CRA information collection published in the Federal Register last December.

However, the OCC noted that it will continue to implement certain provisions of the 2020 final rule with a compliance date of October 1, 2020, as outlined in OCC Bulletin 2020-99 (covered by InfoBytes here), and reminded banks to “maintain appropriate documentation for CRA examination purposes” as specified in the bulletin.

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