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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Hsu discusses expanding diversity and inclusion

Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC Financial Inclusion Diversity Consumer Finance

On May 12, acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu spoke before the Asian Real Estate Association of America Diversity and Fair Housing Summit focusing on the agency’s efforts to decrease barriers to homeownership and promote financial inclusion. In his remarks, Hsu described the agency’s commitment to expanding diversity and inclusion by “encouraging banks to expand their financing of affordable housing and other community needs, especially in low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas.” He further discussed the interagency Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) on new regulations updating how CRA activities qualify for consideration, where CRA activities are considered, and how CRA activities are evaluated. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) Hsu noted that the provisions of the NPR “are intended to expand access to credit, investment, and basic banking services in LMI areas where they are most needed,” and that it “significantly update[s] regulations intended to encourage banks to meet the credit needs of the entire communities they serve.” Hsu also stated that the agency will “continue to diversify its staff, and train and promote a diverse leadership team.” Hsu explained that through Project REACh (Roundtable for Economic Access and Change), the agency “is harnessing the energy and ideas of concerned civil rights, community, banking, business, and other industry leaders across the nation” and that progress has been made through its various workstreams. As previously covered by InfoBytes, Project REACh brings together leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, and various businesses and technology organizations to identify and reduce barriers to accessing capital and credit. Finally, Hsu mentioned that he is “concerned by the hype and the risk consumers face” regarding the growing interest in cryptocurrency investments and other digital assets. He believes that “better financial education and information will benefit all consumers and help reduce our nation’s broad racial wealth gap.”