PITTSBURGH, PA (February 17, 2020) Mayor William Peduto issued a letter today to community organizations, calling on them to submit public comment in opposition to changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that have been proposed by the Trump Administration. Currently, the CRA incentivizes banks and financial institutions to open offices in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and draw investment to those areas. The proposed changes remove these incentives and could eliminate access to capital and ability of these areas to attract investment.
“The CRA has been a critical part of the fabric of community development since 1977 and it’s created the opportunity for equity in our neighborhoods. When banks move into low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, other projects move into those neighborhoods because CRA regulations say to the financial institutions ‘You’re a part of this community. You’re a neighbor. You’ll get a higher rating if you prove it by lending fairly and locally so your neighbors can reinvest, revitalize and boost the economy of this area,’” Mayor Peduto explained.
“The proposed changes to the CRA threaten the important work that our community-based organizations and community development corporations do to revitalize our neighborhoods. Our neighborhoods will take the hardest hit under these changes, so we’re calling on our partners to speak up and submit their comments,” said Mayor’s Office Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Equity Officer Majestic Lane.
Federal regulatory agencies are obligated to collect public comment for 60 days after a federal regulation change is proposed. Comments on the proposed changes must be submitted by March 9 at: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OCC-2018-0008-1515.
The full text of the letter from Mayor Peduto:
Dear Community Partner,
Your contributions to the strength of our communities is invaluable and we need your help. The Trump Administration is proposing changes that would severely weaken the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This important civil rights statute was passed in 1977 to combat the segregating process of redlining by lending institutions. The CRA has been integral in promoting the financial health of low-income and moderate-income communities, particularly communities color by requiring banks to meet the credit needs of the local communities where they do business.
The regulatory changes proposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reduce the ability to effectively evaluate banks in specific areas such as lending, community development investments, and community development services. Furthermore, they incentivize banks to focus more on large capital deals rather than responding to the needs of the local community, fundamentally threatening the original intention of the act. These changes would undermine the spirit of the CRA by refocusing its function to protecting banks, rather than its original intention to protecting financial investment in our most valuable assets – our neighbors and our communities.
Per federal requirements the FDIC and OCC are hosting a 60-day open comment period to gather feedback and testimony. To date, the Federal Reserve, which regulates 20 percent of the market and is the third regulatory body required to pass the changes, has refused to sign on to the proposal stating, “Any modernization of the CRA must further the goal at the heart of the statute — encouraging banks to meet the credit needs of local low- and moderate-income communities.” They will be closely reviewing public comment before determining how they will proceed.
The City of Pittsburgh has submitted public comment in opposition to the proposed regulatory changes and are joining cities across the country by signing onto an opposition letter from the United States Conference of Mayors. These changes threaten financial investment and development in our neighborhoods and communities. We hope that our community partners like you will join us by submitting public comments by March 9, 2020 via this site: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OCC-2018-0008-1515.
The CRA is critical legislation that should be updated to be stronger and more effective for communities, not gutted for the convenience of financial institutions. Banks must be held accountable in meeting the needs of the communities they serve.
Your partnership and community work is the foundation of our neighborhoods’ revitalization. Thank you for sharing the City of Pittsburgh’s commitment to sustaining, growing and strengthening our communities.
Mayor of Pittsburgh