OCC: Key Provisions of the June 2020 CRA Rule and Frequently Asked Questions

Summary

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published in the Federal Register on June 5, 2020, a final rule1 (June 2020 rule) that strengthens and modernizes the agency’s regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This bulletin summarizes key provisions of the June 2020 rule, which became effective October 1, 2020. This bulletin provides responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ) from bankers2 and examiners about how the OCC will administer and implement the June 2020 rule.

Rescissions

This bulletin rescinds OCC Bulletin 2020-3, “Community Reinvestment Act: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” and OCC Bulletin 2020-4, “Community Reinvestment Act: Request for Public Input.”

Note for Community Banks

This rule applies to community banks subject to the CRA.

Background

The June 2020 rule preserves the important objective of encouraging banks to help meet the credit needs of their local communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, while responding to the significant changes and advancements in the banking industry since the CRA’s enactment in 1977 and the last comprehensive regulatory changes in 1995. The June 2020 rule provides new standards for evaluating bank performance and for collecting, maintaining, and reporting data used in the CRA evaluation process.

Summary of Key Provisions of the June 2020 Rule

The June 2020 rule establishes transparent criteria for qualifying retail and community development activities and provides for an illustrative list of activities that will receive CRA credit. The rule also establishes new criteria for designating bank assessment areas, including

  • facility-based assessment areas based on the location of a bank’s main office and branches and, at a bank’s discretion, on the location of the bank’s deposit-taking automated teller machines.
  • deposit-based assessment areas, which apply to a bank with 50 percent or more of its retail domestic deposits outside its facility-based assessment areas.

The June 2020 rule provides for different performance standards by bank type, which are

  • small banks with assets less than or equal to $600 million, adjusted annually;3
  • intermediate banks with assets greater than $600 million and less than or equal to $2.5 billion, adjusted annually;
  • banks with assets greater than $2.5 billion, adjusted annually, and banks that opt into the general performance standards (GP standards or GPS banks); and
  • wholesale and limited purpose banks.4

The June 2020 rule retains a strategic plan option available to all types of banks.

Small banks, intermediate banks, limited purpose banks, and wholesale banks will be examined based on the June 2020 rule’s performance tests and standards corresponding to their specific bank type. Those performance standards generally continue the performance standards under the 1995 rule, as revised (1995 rule).5 GPS banks will be examined under the June 2020 rule’s new GP standards. Banks with assets of $2.5 billion or less, as adjusted, may opt into the new GP standards. Banks that elect the strategic plan option will be subject to performance standards that are tailored to the banks’ unique characteristics and needs.

GPS banks will be required to collect, maintain, and report certain data related to their qualifying activities, certain non-qualifying activities, retail domestic deposits, performance context, and assessment areas. Banks evaluated under a strategic plan will be required to collect, maintain, and report certain data related to their qualifying activities, certain non-qualifying activities, retail domestic deposits, performance context, and assessment areas, unless otherwise determined in writing by the OCC. Wholesale and limited purpose banks will be required to collect, maintain, and report certain data related to their qualifying activities, retail domestic deposits, performance context, and assessment areas.

The June 2020 rule establishes three compliance dates. Banks must comply with certain provisions of the June 2020 rule as of the effective date of October 1, 2020, while other provisions have compliance dates of either January 1, 2023, or January 1, 2024, depending on the bank type. The June 2020 rule sets January 1, 2023, as the compliance date for the GP standards in 12 CFR 25.13, and the preamble to the rule states that the streamlined compliance dates in the final rule allow GPS banks to determine individually when to implement the various systems changes required to comply with this rule by January 1, 2023.6 The June 2020 rule also includes a transition provision to provide flexibility for the OCC to establish an orderly transition for CRA examinations that assess performance based on activities conducted on or after October 1, 2020, but before the applicable compliance date.

Administration of the June 2020 Rule

The OCC will issue guidance to address how the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Q&As)7 will apply to activities conducted under the June 2020 rule.

The OCC is conducting outreach activities to provide banks with more information regarding how the agency will administer the transition to the June 2020 rule, beginning with those provisions in the rule that have an October 1, 2020, compliance date. The OCC will continue to conduct outreach and training on other aspects of the June 2020 rule during the transition period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Transition Period

  1. Please explain the term “transition period.”

    The transition period begins October 1, 2020, and extends to the applicable compliance date of January 1, 2023, for GPS, wholesale, and limited purpose banks, or January 1, 2024, for all other bank types. (“Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5))

Qualifying Activities

  1. How will examiners consider retail lending activities, including qualifying retail lending activities identified in 12 CFR 25.04(b) of the June 2020 rule, and home mortgage, small business, small farm, and consumer loans defined in 12 CFR 25.12 of the 1995 rule, in CRA examinations evaluating bank activities that take place during the transition period?

    For bank activities conducted on or after October 1, 2020, and during the transition period
    • examiners will conduct CRA examinations of performance under the applicable retail lending test criteria using the 1995 rule definitions of home mortgage loan, small business loan, small farm loan, and consumer loan in 12 CFR 25.12 and the business and farm gross annual revenue threshold of $1 million or less in 25.22(b)(3)(ii) of the 1995 rule. Applying the 1995 rule definitions to activities conducted during the transition period will allow banks sufficient time to update systems for collecting, recording, and reporting data on retail lending activities to account for the substantive changes to these definitions in the 2020 rule.
    • at the bank’s option, the OCC will also consider retail loans, as described under 12 CFR 25.04(b) of the June 2020 rule, as “other loan data,” or “other lending-related activities,” as applicable, if those loans are not otherwise considered under the applicable lending test. This approach will provide appropriate flexibility for banks to transition to the June 2020 rule.

      (“Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5))
  2. How will examiners consider community development (CD) activities defined in 12 CFR 25.04(c) of the June 2020 rule, and those defined in 12 CFR 25.12(g) in the 1995 rule, that are conducted by banks during the transition period?

    Examiners will consider all CD activities under 12 CFR 25.04(c) of the June 2020 rule that are conducted by banks on or after October 1, 2020. The criteria in this section of the June 2020 rule are intended to encompass CD activities that would have qualified under the 1995 rule. To the extent there are gaps, examiners will also consider all CD activities defined in 12 CFR 25.12(g) of the 1995 rule that are conducted by banks during the transition period when evaluating performance under the applicable lending, investment, service, or CD test. (“Community development loans, community development investments, and community development services,” 12 CFR 25.04(c))

    Under the June 2020 rule, activities conducted by a bank affiliate will receive credit if the bank finances or otherwise supports the affiliate. In order to provide for a smooth transition and sufficient time for adjustments by banks that currently conduct CRA qualifying activities through bank affiliates that are not financed or otherwise supported by the bank, examiners will continue to consider and provide CRA credit for those affiliate activities that are conducted before April 1, 2022. This approach will provide appropriate flexibility for banks to transition to the June 2020 rule. (“Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5); “Qualifying activities criteria,” 12 CFR 25.04(c))
  3. When will the new lists of distressed and underserved areas be published?

    The OCC plans to publish the lists of distressed and underserved areas based on the June 2020 rule definitions in January 2021 and in January annually thereafter. (“Definitions,” 12 CFR 25.03)

Valuing Qualifying Activities

  1. Will banks receive credit for qualifying CD activities that take place during the transition period and “partially” benefit applicable individuals, entities, or areas?

    Banks may receive consideration in CRA evaluations that begin on or after October 1, 2020, for the full or partial value of qualifying CD activities, as applicable, based on the criteria set forth in 12 CFR 25.04(c) of the June 2020 rule if those activities are conducted on or after October 1, 2020. For activities conducted before October 1, 2020, the 1995 rule and Q&As will continue to apply and provide partial credit for multifamily affordable housing with affordable housing set-asides of less than 50 percent. Additionally, the OCC will develop and publish guidance on the qualifying activities quantification requirements for GPS banks in 12 CFR 25.07 well before the January 1, 2023, compliance date for GPS banks. (Definitions of “partially” and ”primarily,” 12 CFR 25.03)
  2. Will the allocation of the dollar value of qualifying activities across multiple assessment areas established by 12 CFR 25.24(b)(2) of the June 2020 rule be applied in CRA evaluations that take place during the transition period?

    Banks may receive consideration in CRA evaluations that take place on or after October 1, 2020, for the allocated value of qualifying CD activities if those activities serve multiple bank assessment areas and are conducted on or after October 1, 2020. (“Activity location,” 12 CFR 25.24(b)(2))

Activities Outside Bank Assessment Areas

  1. Will a bank receive consideration for qualifying activities outside bank assessment areas if those activities do not directly or indirectly serve a bank’s assessment area(s)?

    Beginning October 1, 2020, any bank may receive consideration for qualifying activities outside of its assessment area(s) that do not directly or indirectly serve its assessment area(s) as follows:
    • A wholesale or limited purpose bank receives consideration for qualifying activities beyond a broader statewide or regional area if the bank has adequately addressed the credit needs of its assessment area(s). Activities in the broader statewide or regional area associated with a wholesale or limited purpose bank’s assessment area are considered to serve that assessment area.
    • A small or intermediate bank receives consideration for qualifying activities outside of its assessment area(s) if the bank achieves an overall satisfactory rating without consideration of those activities. Outside activities can elevate bank performance from satisfactory to outstanding but cannot compensate for less than satisfactory overall performance inside a bank’s assessment area(s).
    • A bank operating under an approved strategic plan may receive consideration for outside qualifying activities by establishing a separate goal for those activities. The goal for outside qualifying activities will be judged independently of the goals established for delineated assessment area(s). Poor performance in one area cannot be offset by performance that exceeds plan goals in another.
    • For a bank with assets of greater than $2.5 billion, as adjusted, which will be subject to the GP standards as of January 1, 2023, the bank may receive consideration for outside qualifying activities through the transition period if the bank achieves an overall satisfactory rating without consideration of those activities. Outside activities can elevate bank performance from satisfactory to outstanding but cannot compensate for less than satisfactory overall performance inside a bank’s assessment area(s). Qualifying activities that occur on or after January 1, 2023, will be considered under the GP standards.

      (“General Performance Standards and Presumptive Rating,” 12 CFR 25.13)

Bank Type, Examination Type, Evaluation Period, and Examination Cycle

  1. Please describe the term “bank type.”

    “Bank type” is the term the OCC uses to identify banks that are, under the June 2020 rule definitions and performance standards, small, intermediate, GPS, wholesale, or limited purpose banks. The bank type determines the “examination type.” (Definitions of “small bank,” “intermediate bank,” “wholesale bank,” and “limited purpose bank,” 12 CFR 25.03)
  2. Please describe the term “examination type.”

    The OCC uses the term “examination type” to describe the performance standards and related procedures used to evaluate a bank’s CRA performance during the evaluation period.
  3. Please explain the term “evaluation period.”

    The OCC uses the term “evaluation period” to describe the time period, calculated in calendar years, covered in a bank’s CRA evaluation.
  4. Please explain the term “examination cycle.”

    The OCC defines “examination cycle” as the standard time period between the scheduling of CRA examinations.

Bank Type Determinations

  1. What asset size threshold will be applied to determine the “bank type” for exams that cover activities conducted during the transition period?

    In keeping with processes based on full calendar years of activity and explained in FAQs 13 through 19, the OCC will apply the asset size thresholds in the small bank and intermediate bank definitions of the June 2020 rule to determine bank type in December 2020. Bank type based on the December assessment will then be communicated to banks. (“Definitions,” 12 CFR 25.03)
    • A bank with assets of $600 million or less is a small bank.
    • A bank with assets greater than $600 million and equal to or less than $2.5 billion is an intermediate bank.
    • A bank with assets greater than $2.5 billion will become a GPS bank.
    • Wholesale and limited purpose bank type designations and examination procedures do not change.8

Examination Administration

  1. What performance standards will examiners use when evaluating CRA activities conducted during the transition period?

    Under the June 2020 rule, the performance standards for small, intermediate, wholesale, and limited purpose banks, and the provisions for banks operating under a strategic plan, apply beginning on October 1, 2020. These standards and provisions are generally consistent with the performance standards and strategic plan provisions set forth in the 1995 rule, with limited exceptions. The June 2020 rule performance standards for GPS banks have a January 1, 2023, compliance date. Therefore, small, intermediate, limited purpose, and wholesale bank activities conducted during the transition period generally will be evaluated using the performance standards in the June 2020 rule. GPS banks will remain subject to the large bank lending, investment, and service tests in the 1995 rule until January 1, 2023, and the OCC also may conduct certain exams utilizing those tests after that date, as described in FAQ 16. (“Small and intermediate bank performance standards,” 12 CFR 25.14; “Wholesale and limited purpose bank performance standards,” 12 CFR 25.15; “Strategic plan,” 12 CFR 25.18; and “Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5))
  2. What examination procedures and other guidance will examiners use when evaluating CRA activities conducted during the transition period?

    To effectively administer the transition to the June 2020 rule, the OCC is developing and will issue additional guidance addressing issues identified in the June 2020 rule as warranting guidance and on the continuing application of the 1995 rule Q&As. The OCC will also issue new examination procedures for all bank types and will establish and publish a reasonable schedule for implementing the updated procedures during the transition period.

    To fully implement the June 2020 rule’s objectives of consistency, transparency, and objectivity, and to provide for an orderly transition, examiners will apply the 1995 rule Q&As and 1995 rule examination procedures as supplemented by these FAQs, to evaluate CRA activities that take place between October 1, 2020, and the effective date of new guidance or examination procedures applicable to the particular activities. This approach will facilitate the OCC’s administration of an orderly transition from the 1995 rule to the June 2020 rule by largely implementing the June 2020 rule performance standards with an October 1, 2020, compliance date, while providing time for the development of new guidance, examination procedures, and tools to fully implement the limited differences between the 1995 rule and June 2020 rule, as well as the development and delivery of associated outreach and training to examiners and bankers.

    For CRA examinations that evaluate bank activities conducted during the transition period and before the effective date of new guidance or examination procedures, the 1995 rule examination procedures used will be based on bank type as described in FAQ 12. Specifically:
    • A small bank is subject to the 1995 rule’s small bank examination procedures.
    • An intermediate bank is subject is to the 1995 rule’s intermediate small bank examination procedures.
    • To administer a seamless transition to the June 2020 rule, a GPS bank is subject to the 1995 rule’s large bank examination procedures.
    • Wholesale and limited purpose bank type designations and examination procedures do not change.9

    For CRA examinations that occur during the transition period and evaluate bank activities conducted prior to October 1, 2020, examiners will apply the performance standards from the 1995 rule, and the 1995 rule examination procedures used will be based on the bank type at the time the activities were conducted.
  3. When will activities conducted by GPS banks be examined under the GP standards in the June 2020 rule consistent with 12 CFR 25.13?

    The June 2020 rule sets January 1, 2023, as the compliance date for the GP standards in 12 CFR 25.13. All GPS banks should develop and implement necessary system changes to comply with the data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements, as well as the GP standards no later than that date. The data-driven GP standards include peer comparisons, and the OCC’s extensive supervisory experience demonstrates that at least two years of data generally will be needed to conduct effective and meaningful examinations across all GPS banks. Therefore, the OCC will be flexible where warranted by individual bank circumstances but will generally begin to conduct examinations under the GP standards when GPS banks have collected at least two years of data under the June 2020 rule. The OCC will update this FAQ, if appropriate, when further rulemaking related to GP standards benchmarks, thresholds, and minimums is finalized. (“Authority, purposes, scope, and severability,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(4)(i))
  4. Will examiners use the 1995 rule large bank examination procedures to evaluate activities conducted before the new GP standards’ compliance date of January 1, 2023, in CRA examinations conducted after that date?

    To ensure a smooth and consistent transition to the June 2020 rule for GPS banks, examiners will conduct CRA examinations using the 1995 rule large bank examination procedures to assess performance based on qualifying activities conducted by those GPS banks prior to January 1, 2023. Those examinations will evaluate, conclude on, and rate bank performance on activities that were not captured in the bank’s most recent CRA examination and that will not be considered in the bank’s first CRA examination under the June 2020 rule. The OCC will develop and issue guidance on these exams before the January 1, 2023, compliance date.
  5. What examination procedures and performance standards will examiners use if a bank’s examination type changed during the CRA evaluation period?

    Under the June 2020 rule, the standard examination cycle for banks not subject to the evaluation frequency limits in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) (referred to as non-GLBA banks) will be three years, which is consistent with the OCC’s existing standard three-year evaluation period. As noted in FAQ 19, the evaluation period, and therefore the examination cycle, may be shortened or lengthened by one year to accommodate changes in bank type.

    In addition, OCC supervisory offices may adjust the three-year examination cycle to accommodate examination type changes so that all years covered in the evaluation are based on a consistent examination type. These changes will be communicated to the bank and will be designed to eliminate the need for the application of two different sets of performance standards during the same examination.
  6. When will the examination type change for a bank that transitions from a small bank to an intermediate bank or from an intermediate bank to a GPS bank?

    To provide for an orderly transition, and ensure that the OCC has enough data to perform meaningful CRA evaluations for banks moving from one examination type to another, the OCC will generally determine a bank’s exam type by considering the bank type and whether two years of data are available to evaluate performance based on the assigned bank type. For a bank that moves to a new bank type, the bank’s exam type generally will change when the bank has collected and can provide to the OCC at least two years of data under the new bank type. As in the past, the OCC will be flexible and work with individual banks where circumstances warrant modifying this approach. The OCC will update this FAQ, if appropriate, when further rulemaking related to performance benchmarks, thresholds, and minimums is finalized. (“Authority, purposes, scope, and severability,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(4)(i))
  7. The GLBA mandates less frequent evaluations for banks with $250 million or less in assets and satisfactory or outstanding CRA ratings. In general, what should be the evaluation period for non-GLBA banks?

    Generally, all non-GLBA banks will be subject to a three-year evaluation period beginning with a bank’s first evaluation under the June 2020 rule. The evaluation period may be shortened or lengthened by one year when a bank transitions from one type to another. (Refer to FAQ 17.)

Data Collection and Reporting

  1. How will the June 2020 rule’s data collection, record-keeping, and reporting requirements for GPS banks be administered?

    The June 2020 rule establishes January 1, 2023, as the compliance date for GPS banks, and those banks should be in compliance with the GPS data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements by the compliance date. (“Data collection for banks evaluated under the GP standards in § 25.13 or a strategic plan under § 25.18,” 12 CFR 25.21)

    To effectively administer the transition to examinations for GPS banks under the June 2020 rule (refer to FAQs 13 through 18) the OCC will implement the GPS data reporting requirements in a manner that provides time for banks to collect and report sufficient data to support meaningful examinations. To support the peer comparisons required by the June 2020 rule, the OCC plans to collect data annually. As a result, GPS banks will generally be required to provide the first set of annual data (for calendar year 2023) to the OCC pursuant to the June 2020 rule reporting requirements by March 1, 2024. Nothing precludes a bank from collecting and reporting data before these dates. The OCC will issue further guidance on these reporting requirements before the compliance date.
  2. When will data collection requirements begin for banks that transition from intermediate to GPS?

    A bank that is determined to be a GPS bank as described in FAQ 12 will be required to begin collecting data, under 12 CFR 25.21, no later than January 1, 2023 (unless it becomes an intermediate bank before that date).
  3. Will GPS banks continue to collect and report small business loan, small farm loan, and CD loan data under the 1995 rule on or after October 1, 2020?

    To ensure effective and consistent administration of the CRA rules, GPS banks will continue to collect CRA data (small business loans, small farm loans, and CD loans) under the 1995 rule and, using the 1995 loan amount and gross annual revenue thresholds, for activities conducted through calendar year 2022. GPS banks will report this data annually to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council by March 1, with the last report of 1995 rule data, for 2022, due in 2023. In reporting CD loans, banks should report all loans that meet the definition in the 1995 rule (section 25.12(g)), and may, at their option, also report other CD loans that fall under the CD criteria in the June 2020 rule (section 25.04(c)).

    GPS banks are required to begin data collection under the June 2020 rule no later than January 1, 2023. Banks that are large banks under the 1995 rule with assets of $2.5 billion or less will report data collected in 2020 under the 1995 rule by March 1, 2021. These banks will not be required to collect or report data under the 1995 rule for calendar years 2021 forward.

    The OCC will develop and issue guidance on how data should be reported under the June 2020 rule before January 1, 2023.
  4. Should a bank that becomes a GPS bank in one calendar year but reverts to an intermediate bank the next year be required to begin data collection as a GPS bank?

    Once a bank becomes a GPS bank, it is subject to the GPS bank data collection requirements. If the bank ceases to be a GPS bank in the following year the GPS data collection requirements will no longer apply. Nonetheless, in this situation, the OCC will consider the bank’s history over the previous 12 quarters. If there is a trend of steady asset size growth during that time, the bank would be encouraged to collect data as required for GPS banks, because there is a likelihood that the bank type will change back to GPS with the next annual assessment. If the bank’s history reflects that the bank asset size was generally below the intermediate bank asset size threshold during that time, the bank should use its discretion regarding whether to begin collecting data required of GPS banks under 12 CFR 25.21. (Definition of “intermediate bank,” 12 CFR 25.03)

Strategic Plans

  1. May banks currently operating under strategic plans amend their plans to establish additional target geographic market assessment areas, as provided by 12 CFR 25.18(g)(2) of the June 2020 rule?

    A bank currently operating under a strategic plan may make a request to the OCC to amend its plan in order to create one or more additional assessment areas, as permitted in 12 CFR 25.18(g)(2) of the June 2020 rule, based on its target geographic market. The OCC will develop and issue guidance on strategic plans under the June 2020 rule, which will include additional explanation regarding this provision of the June 2020 rule. (“Assessment area delineation,” 12 CFR 25.18(g)(2))
  2. Will the OCC reassess approved strategic plans to ensure compliance with the June 2020 rule?

    The OCC will reassess bank strategic plans that have terms that go beyond the bank’s applicable compliance date. These reassessments will be limited to changes related to the June 2020 rule and guidance that the OCC will develop and issue on strategic plans under the June 2020 rule. (Refer to FAQ 24)

CRA Public Files and CRA Public Notices

  1. When should banks make the public notice required under 12 CFR 25.30 of the June 2020 rule available to the public?

    The June 2020 rule’s public notice requirements have a compliance date of October 1, 2020. Banks may comply with the June 2020 rule notice requirements on that date or, at their option, continue to display the notice required under the 1995 rule until March 1, 2021. All banks must comply with the June 2020 rule notice requirements by March 1, 2021. (“Public notice by banks,” 12 CFR 25.30; “Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5))
  2. How should banks make the public notice required under 12 CFR 25.30 of the June 2020 rule available to the public?

    To comply with the June 2020 rule public notice requirements, consistent with 12 CFR 25.30 and Appendix B of 12 CFR 25, banks must display the public notice in their main office and branch offices in a form and location visible and prominent to the public. Permissible forms for displaying the notice in the main office and branch office locations include either paper or an electronic format, such as a digital display. In addition to the requirement for display of the public notice in one of these formats, banks may also post the notice on their websites. (“Public notice by banks,” 12 CFR 25.30)
  3. When should banks make the public file required under 12 CFR 25.28 of the June 2020 rule available to the public?

    The June 2020 rule public file requirements are effective October 1, 2020. By that date, banks must make the public file information required by the June 2020 rule available to the public in paper or electronic form, which may include making the information solely available on the bank’s website. (“Content and availability of public file,” 12 CFR 25.28)

Performance Context and Community Contacts

  1. During the transition period, how will banks and examiners address performance context in CRA evaluations?

    The June 2020 rule transfers responsibility for developing a bank’s performance context from the OCC to the bank. To ensure an effective and consistent transition to the June 2020 rule’s performance context requirements, the OCC will continue to develop and consider a bank’s performance context according to  1995 rule performance context procedures during CRA evaluations until the OCC develops and implements a system for electronic bank submission of performance context to the OCC. The OCC will implement this new system as soon as possible, along with tools and guidance to ensure consistency in the evaluation of bank performance context information when assigning final CRA ratings. A bank may, at its option, submit performance context information relevant to the new performance context factors for consideration by the OCC during the bank’s CRA evaluation prior to the implementation of the new system. (“Consideration of performance context,” 12 CFR 25.16; “Transition provision,” 12 CFR 25.01(c)(5))
  2. Will the OCC continue the practice of conducting community contacts as part of its performance context assessment for CRA evaluations that take place during the transition period?

    The OCC will continue to conduct community contacts to support CRA evaluations that take place during the transition period while the OCC works to establish an automated method for community input.

Disaster Areas

  1. Please explain what is meant by the term “disaster area.”

    The OCC uses the term “disaster area” to mean any geographic area covered by a federally declared disaster. OCC will consider qualifying activities that are consistent with a disaster recovery plan for 36 months following the date of disaster designation. The OCC may issue a written notice to extend the time period during which activities will be considered in cases where there is a continuing demonstrable need.

Qualifying Activities and CRA Desert Confirmation

  1. When will OCC begin accepting requests for confirmation of qualifying activities and CRA deserts?

    As of October 1, 2020, banks and other interested parties may submit requests to the OCC to confirm whether an activity is a qualifying activity under the June 2020 rule. Submissions will be made through a link on the CRA page of the OCC’s website, OCC.gov. Details on how to use the submission system are available on OCC.gov. (“Qualifying activities confirmation and illustrative list,” 12 CFR 25.05)

    Prior to January 1, 2023, the OCC will develop and implement a similar system to accept requests for confirmation of whether a geographic area meets the criteria for a CRA desert. GPS banks receive additional credit for activities conducted on or after January 1, 2023, that are confirmed to be in a CRA desert. (Definition of “CRA desert,” 12 CFR 25.03)

Further Information

For more information about this bulletin, please contact Vonda Eanes, Director for CRA and Fair Lending Policy, Compliance Risk Policy, at (202) 649-5470.

Refer to BankNet for information about the OCC’s CRA Webinar Series.

Grovetta N. Gardineer
Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy

1 Refer to OCC News Release 2020-63, “OCC Finalizes Rule to Strengthen and Modernize Community Reinvestment Act Regulations.”

2 “Banks” refers to national banks and federal savings associations subject to the CRA. Generally, references to “national banks” also apply to federal branches subject to the CRA unless otherwise specified. Refer to the “Federal Branches and Agencies Supervision” booklet of the Comptroller’s Handbook for more information regarding the applicability of laws, regulations, and guidance to federal branches and agencies. 

The small bank and intermediate bank asset size thresholds shall be adjusted annually and published by the OCC based on the year-to-year change in the average of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, not seasonally adjusted, for each 12-month period ending in November, with rounding to the nearest $100,000.

4 For more information, refer to OCC Bulletin 2019-40, “Community Reinvestment Act: Guidelines for Requesting Designation as a Wholesale, Limited Purpose, or Special Purpose Bank.”

5 The 1995 rule was amended in 2005 to add intermediate small banks and consideration of activities in distressed and underserved geographies. Refer to 70 Fed. Reg. 44256. Additional conforming changes were made in 2010 and 2015.

6 Refer to 85 Fed. Reg. 34734 and 34783-84.

Refer to OCC News Release 2016-82, “Agencies Release Final Revisions to Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment.”

For more information, refer to OCC Bulletin 2019-40, “Community Reinvestment Act: Guidelines for Requesting Designation as a Wholesale, Limited Purpose, or Special Purpose Bank.”

Ibid.

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