Press Releases

Waters Statement on the OCC’s Weakening of CRA Enforcement

Washington, DC, October 18, 2017
Tags: OCC

Today, in response to the Office of Comptroller of the Currency’s move to weaken its examination policies for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, made the following statement:

“The Community Reinvestment Act is a vital law that places an obligation on banks to responsibly invest in and serve the communities where they are chartered, and prevents discriminatory lending and redlining. Under Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika’s direction, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has weakened CRA enforcement by easing the consequences for banks that violate fair lending laws and harm consumers. These new guidelines show that Mr. Noreika is putting Wall Street first and directly contradict the OCC’s mission to ensure that national banks treat customers fairly and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

“This action is just one in a series of troubling and potentially illegitimate actions taken by Trump Appointee Keith Noreika since September 13, all in violation of the statutory limitation that a Special Government Employee (SGE) may serve no more than 130 days. Congress has a duty to investigate this apparent abuse of authority by the Trump Administration. Furthermore, this move to weaken the CRA stands as a direct rebuke of the OCC's double downgrade of Wells Fargo, one of Mr. Noreika’s former clients, which received the rare penalty due to a long list of discriminatory and illegal practices, including its fraudulent account scandal. The lenient treatment of megabanks like Wells Fargo by prudential regulators is one of the reasons why I introduced HR 3937, the Megabank Accountability and Consequences Act, which would force bank regulators like the OCC to hold megabanks accountable.”

On October 12, 1977, President Carter signed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) into law, to make sure banks help meet the convenience and needs of the communities in which they are chartered to do business, including low- and moderate-income communities.

In 2016, Ranking Member Waters sent a letter to the OCC expressing serious concern over a seven-year delay in the public availability of Wells Fargo’s performance evaluation under the Community Reinvestment Act.

In March of this year, Ranking Member Waters applauded the OCC’s issuance of a “needs to improve” CRA rating to Wells Fargo under then-Comptroller Thomas Curry’s leadership.


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