On October 24th, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued a final rule to strengthen and modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This revision to the CRA regulation, the first comprehensive update since 1995, was issued with the following stated goals:
- Encourage banks to expand access to credit, investment, and banking services in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities;
- Adapt to changes in the banking industry, including mobile and online banking, in part by adding a large bank requirement to delineate “retail lending assessment areas;”
- Provide greater clarity and consistency in the application of the CRA regulations, using newly developed data tools and benchmarks based on peer and demographic data; and
- Tailor CRA evaluations and data collection to a bank’s size and type.
The final rule broadens the scope of CRA requirements to lending activity outside of traditional assessment areas. The expansion addresses the substantial growth and transition in provision of lending originated through online and mobile banking and other non-branch delivery systems. Under the final rule, regulators will conduct separate assessments of large bank activities using four tests: (1) retail lending, (2) retail services and products, (3) community development (CD) financing, and (4) CD services. The rule includes changes to asset size thresholds for small, intermediate, and large banks as follows:
- Small banks <600M (from <376M)
- Intermediate banks: $600M-<2B (from 376M-$1.503B)
- Large banks: ≥$2B (from ≥$1.503B)
Small banks will continue to be evaluated under the existing performance test with the option to be evaluated under the new Retail Lending Test. Intermediate banks will be tested under the new Retail Lending Test and either remain under the existing CD test or opt into the new CD Financing Test. Large banks will be evaluated using the four new tests: Retail Lending Test, Retail Services and Products Test, Community Development Financing Test, and Community Development Services Test. Finally, limited purpose banks will be evaluated under a tailored version of the CD Financing Test. No new data collection requirements will be imposed on small or intermediate banks.
The April 1, 2024, effective date is applicable to provisions of the final rule that are similar to the current CRA regulations: facility-based assessment area delineations, effect of CRA on applications, public file, bank public notice, and CRA examination schedule public notice provisions, as well as the new public engagement provision. As of January 1, 2026, banks are required to comply with all other provisions of the final rule, except for certain reporting requirements, which will be applicable on January 1, 2027.