Press Releases

Waters, Brown, and Meeks Lead House and Senate Committee Democrats in Letter to Regulators on Proposed CRA Changes

Washington, DC, December 11, 2019

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, led a letter to Jerome H. Powell, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Joseph M. Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, and Jelena McWilliams, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, demanding that regulators provide the public, Members of Congress, and all interested parties with adequate time to thoroughly review and offer input on proposed changes to the framework of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The letter was signed by every Democratic Member of the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“The CRA is a critical tool to combat redlining, a practice that still exists by which banks discriminate against prospective customers based primarily on where they lived, or their racial or ethnic background, rather than creditworthiness,” the lawmakers wrote. “Many of us have shared our views and concerns with you regarding your proposed changes to implementation of the CRA. Based on your past responses and statements, as well as the feedback we have received from interested stakeholders, we remain extremely concerned about the direction any proposed rule is likely to take and efforts to arbitrarily rush to finalize a rule in the near future.”

See the full text of the letter below.

The Honorable Jerome H. Powell
Chairman
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
20th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20219

The Honorable Joseph M. Otting
Comptroller
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20551

The Honorable Jelena McWilliams
Chairman
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429

Dear Chairman Powell, Comptroller Otting, and Chairman McWilliams:

We are writing regarding recent testimony and news that one or more of your agencies may soon issue a proposed rule to revise regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).[1] As you know, the law directs your agencies to hold banks accountable in fulfilling their “continuing and affirmative obligation to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered.”[2] The CRA is a critical tool to combat redlining, a practice that still exists by which banks discriminate against prospective customers based primarily on where they live, or their racial or ethnic background, rather than creditworthiness.[3]  

Many of us have shared our views and concerns with you regarding your proposed changes to implementation of the CRA. Based on your past responses and statements, as well as the feedback we have received from interested stakeholders, we remain extremely concerned about the direction any proposed rule is likely to take and efforts to arbitrarily rush to finalize a rule in the near future.

To the extent one or more of your agencies decides to proceed with a proposed rule, we request that you provide a public comment period of no less than 120 days for substantive review and comment on the proposal. Given the complexity of this rulemaking and the impact of the CRA, particularly within communities of color and for those who have been historically underserved by our financial system, it is essential that your agencies provide adequate time for thorough review by all interested parties.

We look forward to your prompt attention to this request.

Sincerely,

Rep. Maxine Waters
Senator Sherrod Brown
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay
Rep. David Scott
Rep. Al Green
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Rep. Jim A. Himes
Rep. Bill Foster
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Rep. Denny Heck
Rep. Juan Vargas
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez
Rep. Al Lawson
Rep. Michael San Nicolas
Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Rep. Katie Porter
Rep. Cindy Axne
Rep. Sean Casten
Rep. Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Ben McAdams
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Jennifer Wexton
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Rep. Alma Adams
Rep. Madeleine Dean
Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García
Rep. Sylvia Garcia
Rep. Dean Phillips
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Mark R. Warner
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Brian Schatz
Senator Chris Van Hollen
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
Senator Doug Jones
Senator Tina Smith
Senator Kyrsten Sinema



cc: The Honorable Kathy Kraninger, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Honorable Martin Gruenberg, Board Member, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The Honorable Richard Clarida, Vice Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
The Honorable Randal Quarles, Vice Chair for Supervision, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
The Honorable Lael Brainard, Governors, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
The Honorable Michelle Bowman, Governors, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


###

_________________
[1]  See FDIC, “Sunshine Act Meeting Notice for Thursday, December 12, 2019”; and Written Testimony of The Honorable Joseph M. Otting, before the House Financial Services Committee, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions?” 10 (Dec. 4, 2019).
[2] 12 USC §2901
[3] See Aaron Glantz and Emmanuel Martinez, “Kept Out: For people of color, banks are shutting the door to homeownership,” Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting (Feb. 15, 2018).



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