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Next City's Economic Justice Correspondent, Oscar Perry Abello, chats with the experts about the recent changes to the CRA. This is a conversation that is not to be missed.
November 17, 2023
Racial justice advocates have been demanding for years that federal banking regulators use their authority under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), enacted in 1977, to assess whether banks are meeting the credit needs of all racial groups equally. Regulators ultimately did not meet that demand under the new CRA rules and regulations issued on October 24, but there is still a lot to talk about.
Under the existing rules, banks get CRA credit for $300-$400 billion a year in loans made to low-to-moderate income households or in low-to-moderate income communities across the country. That’s a higher annual spending than HUD or the Department of Transportation or the Department of Education. Those billions of CRA-qualifying loan dollars include loans for single-family and multi-family residences, small businesses, small farms and community development. After several years and now two White House administrations, the newly updated (but still race-neutral) rules and regulations will still end up influencing how and where those dollars flow. It’s the first comprehensive overhaul to CRA rules since 1995, long before the rise of online and mobile banking.
In this webinar, we’ll discuss what community development, affordable housing, fair housing groups and their local public sector partners should expect as the rules begin shaping banks’ CRA-qualifying activities even before they technically go into effect in 2026.
Oscar Perry Abello covers policies, programs and businesses that seek to address historical disparities in access to jobs, capital and space for economic use in cities. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, equitable and inclusive economies, affordable housing, fair housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Oscar holds a B.A. in Economics from Villanova University. Follow him on Twitter @oscarthinks.
Lisa Rice is the second President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the nation’s only national civil rights agency solely dedicated to eliminating all forms of housing discrimination. NFHA is also the trade association for over 170 member organizations across the country that work to eliminate barriers in the housing markets and expand equal housing and lending opportunities. NFHA provides a range of programs to affirmatively further fair housing which include community development, membership services, education and outreach, public policy and advocacy, consulting and compliance, communications, tech equity, resource development, and enforcement.
Benson F. (Buzz) Roberts has been President and CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders since 2015. NAAHL is the national alliance of leading banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and other capital providers for affordable housing and inclusive neighborhood revitalization. Buzz served on the Biden-Harris transition’s agency review team for the Treasury Department. He was the Director of the Office of Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy at the Treasury Department from 2011 to 2015. He was previously Senior Vice President for Policy and Program Development at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a leading nonprofit investor in low-income community development. Buzz has helped to create the Low Income Housing Tax Credit; the New Markets Tax Credit; the HOME housing partnerships program; regulatory changes to the Community Reinvestment Act; the Capital Magnet Fund; Treasury funding for FHA multifamily risk- sharing loans to finance affordable rental housing; and bond guarantees for CDFIs. He has been a board member of several national and local nonprofit organizations and coalitions and has written extensively about affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization.
Brian Blake is the Chief Public Policy Officer at the Community Development Bankers Association (CDBA). CDBA is the national trade serving community development financial institution (CDFI) certified and mission-focused banks and thrifts. In his role, Brian leads national policy advocacy directed to Congress, the Administration and Regulatory Agencies, as well as outreach to industry stakeholders. He also staffs the CDBA Product Development Committee.
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