The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations have been amended to revise the term “community development” to include loans, investments and services by financial institutions that support, enable or facilitate projects or activities that meet the “eligible uses” criteria described in Section 2301(c) of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008. The definition further requires that these loans, investments and services be conducted in designated target areas, identified in plans approved by HUD under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The final rule provides favorable CRA consideration of such activities that, pursuant to the requirements of the program, benefit low-, moderate- and middle-income individuals and geographies in NSP target areas designated as “areas of greatest need.”
Covered activities are considered both within an institution’s assessment area(s) and outside of its assessment area(s), as long as the institution has adequately addressed the community development needs of its own assessment area(s). Favorable consideration under the revised rule will be available until no later than two years after the last date appropriated funds for the program are required to be spent by grantees. Reasonable advanced notice will be provided to institutions in the Federal Register regarding termination of the rule once a certain date has been identified. The joint final rule became effective January 19, 2011, and was published in the Federal Register on December 20, 2010, at http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2010/12/20/2010-31818/community-reinvestment-act-regulations.
The CRA was also revised to adjust the asset-size thresholds used to define “small bank” or “small savings association” and “intermediate small bank” or “intermediate small savings association.” The adjustment to the threshold amount is based on the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index. Beginning January 1, 2011, banks and savings associations that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.122 billion are “small banks” or “small savings associations.” Small banks or small savings associations with assets of at least $280 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.122 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years are “intermediate small banks” or “intermediate small savings associations.” The agencies also publish current and historical asset-size thresholds on the web site of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council at http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/.
The amendments became effective on January 1, 2011, and were published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2010, at http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2010/12/30/2010-32321/community-reinvestment-act-regulations#table_of_contents.