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ICBA Supports Proposed CRA Guidance

Banking Regulators Commended for Offering Additional Guidance

Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2006) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) applauded the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC for offering additional guidance to help bankers and examiners understand the requirements under revisions to the agencies' Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rules adopted last summer.

The changes, long advocated by ICBA, increase the size limit for banks eligible for the streamlined small bank CRA exam to $1 billion and add a new community development assessment for banks between $250 million and $1 billion in assets. The changes also expand eligible community development activities for all banks to include those that benefit designated disaster areas and distressed and underserved non-metropolitan areas.

While generally supporting the proposed guidance, ICBA expressed concerns that undue emphasis on benefits to low- and moderate-income individuals could reintroduce a problem the revisions were designed to correct. Because income data can be difficult to obtain, ICBA encouraged the agencies to allow credit for activities in disaster areas and distressed and underserved non-metropolitan areas that benefit the entire community.

ICBA also recommended the agencies publish a list of designated disaster areas for ease of reference, similar to their plans to publish a list of distressed or underserved non-metropolitan areas.

Finally, ICBA commended the agencies for listing examples of qualified investments and community development services, and encouraged the agencies to keep those lists updated to serve as a resource for bankers across the country.

ICBA's comments are at www.icba.org.