Sacramento, California - California Attorney General Becerra, leading a coalition of 14 attorneys general, urged the Trump Administration to maintain rules requiring banks to take steps to serve low- and moderate-income communities and protect against lending discrimination. The comment letter responds to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) efforts to weaken oversight of bank compliance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA encourages banks to help meet credit needs of all segments of the population. The OCC’s proposal would undermine the CRA, resulting in less access to banking service, loans, and investment for disadvantaged populations.
“Access to banking services is essential in all our communities. However, the Trump Administration’s proposal would cut necessary oversight that protects against lending discrimination,” said Attorney General Becerra. “All Californians deserve equal opportunity to buy homes and open businesses. Modernization of regulations and oversight shouldn’t come at the expense of providing robust and fair credit access to all communities.”
Under the OCC’s proposal, there would be weakened enforcement of credit discrimination and consumer protection laws through the CRA. The OCC would only consider the most egregious of violations, functionally eliminating penalties for violations. In addition, the CRA is enforced by the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and OCC. Enforcement is carried out through the bank examination process, where these agencies periodically review how well banks have met the credit needs of the communities covered by the CRA. However, the OCC neglected to include the other two enforcement entities in forming its decision to roll back CRA oversight.
In the letter, the 14 attorneys general urge the OCC to withdraw its proposal because it:
- Fails to recognize the importance of community benefit agreements, which have led to billions of dollars in local community investment.
- Allows banks to achieve CRA compliance through lending and investments made in non-CRA communities.
- Fails to fix the loophole that allows bank affiliates, such as mortgage lenders, to escape CRA examination.
Joining Attorney General Becerra were the attorneys general of Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.