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Dec 15 -- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Treasury, invites public comment by February 16, 2021 on its proposed Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) data collection from banks.  
 
On June 5, 2020, the OCC published a final rule in the Federal Register that makes comprehensive changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulatory framework designed to ensure that the CRA remains a relevant and powerful tool for encouraging banks to serve the needs of their communities, particularly low- or moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods, consistent with banks' safe and sound operations.  
 
As the final rule describes, the agency modernized and strengthened the CRA regulatory framework to better achieve the underlying statutory purpose of encouraging banks to help serve their communities by making the framework more objective, transparent, consistent, and easy to understand. To accomplish these goals, the final rule strengthened the CRA regulations in four key areas by (1) clarifying which activities qualify for CRA credit; (2) updating where activities count for CRA credit; (3) creating a more consistent and objective method for measuring CRA performance; and (4) providing for more timely and transparent CRA-related data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting.

The final rule provided a new evaluation framework (i.e., the general performance standards) for banks with assets of $2.5 billion or more that are not wholesale or limited purpose banks and do not operate under an approved strategic plan. However, the final rule did not provide the CRA evaluation measure benchmarks, retail lending distribution test thresholds, and community development (CD) minimums under the general performance standards. The OCC plans to determine these benchmarks, thresholds, and minimums through separate rulemaking. In order to calibrate the benchmarks, thresholds, and minimums, the OCC seeks information to assist in determining current and historical levels of CRA activity. Specifically, this information collection seeks bank-specific data and information to supplement available data. This information collection applies only to banks with assets of $2.5 billion or more that are subject to the general performance standards under the CRA final rule.

The OCC seeks information to assist in determining the CRA evaluation measure benchmarks, retail lending distribution test thresholds, and CD minimums under the final rule that will correspond to the presumptive ratings. As discussed in the Supplementary Information section to the final rule, the OCC analyzed currently available data to estimate how banks would have performed under the proposed rule's framework. The final rule did not finalize the benchmarks, thresholds, or minimums as proposed. Instead, as explained in the Supplementary Information section to the final rule, the OCC plans to issue a separate notice of proposed rulemaking to determine the benchmarks, thresholds, and minimums that will correspond to the presumptive ratings in the final rule.

This information collection seeks bank-specific data and information to supplement the agency's analyses and currently available data. Specifically, it requests four types of bank data or information: (1) Retail domestic deposit and assessment area data; (2) qualifying activities data; (3) branch information; and (4) retail loan application and origination data. The data should contain information from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2019. The final rule provides additional information (e.g., definitions, qualifying activities criteria, etc.) to inform what is requested below.
 
The public is invited to comment on the proposed CRA information collection, the details of which can be seen at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/12/15/2020-27524/agency-information-collection-activities-information-collection-renewal-comment-request-cra

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