Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting today visited Native American pueblos in New Mexico as part of a nationwide effort to discuss modernizing Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations and opportunities to bring more investment, lending, and services to underserved areas.
While in northern New Mexico, the Comptroller and senior staff from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency met with tribal officials, community leaders, officials from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, and bankers. The group visited the Santa Ana, San Felipe, and the Kewa pueblos as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Following the tour, the Comptroller facilitated a roundtable discussion on how to update CRA regulations and promote more banking activity where it is needed most.
“While CRA has driven trillions of dollars in investment since 1977, more needs to be done to ensure banks are motivated to maintain and increase investment, lending, and services in rural areas, including Native American communities like the ones we visited today,” said Comptroller Otting.
“NAFOA recognizes the importance of modernizing the CRA to better serve rural America and Indian Country’s need for healthy capital and depository services,” said Native American Finance Officers Association Board President (NAFOA) Cristina Danforth, Oneida Nation. “The foundations of effective tribal economic development policies are built together and in collaboration with all members of the community. By introducing our federal partners to Indian Country, we hope they take this community spirit back to Washington D.C. and work towards policies that will build strong tribal economies.”
Today’s tour is the fourth in a series of events being held across the country to hear from stakeholders of all kinds on how CRA has supported their communities and what more can be done. The conversations are informing the OCC’s ongoing effort to work with other federal banking agencies to develop and issue a proposed rule to make CRA regulations work better for everyone. The Comptroller expects the interagency proposal will be issued this fall.
“Today’s event and the voices we heard confirm for me what we have heard from hundreds of others: We need to act now to improve CRA regulations,” the Comptroller said. “We can make CRA work better and drive more banking activity to communities that are underserved today by clarifying what counts for CRA credit, updating where activity qualifies, making evaluations of bank CRA performance more objective, and reporting results in a more timely and transparent manner.”
The Comptroller will continue to meet with stakeholders and visit areas throughout the country to see CRA success stories first hand and hear directly how regulators can make CRA work better for everyone while fulfilling its statutory purpose more effectively.