OCC announces final rule to amend licensing procedures

Monday, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) published a final rule amending its licensing and merger procedures that will make it more difficult for community groups to comment on bank merger applications. 

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement:

“It appears the OCC is doubling down on anything it can do to make it easier for banks to do less for their communities and avoid accountability to the people and communities they serve. The OCC has once again gone after the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in an attempt to reduce that law’s role in bank merger deals. The OCC can say what it wants, but the law is the law and banks can’t ignore it or avoid their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act. The public benefits of mergers matter, community needs and community input matter, evidence of discrimination and failure to comply with CRA matters, and all of that is clear in the law and well established in regulatory reviews of bank mergers.

“During a deepening recession brought on by a pandemic, the OCC should be putting struggling communities ahead of corporate interests. Instead, weeks before the end of the Trump Administration, a Trump-appointed regulator is trying to go out with a bang by pandering to banks and undermining rules and laws put in place to keep them in check and responsive to the needs of the communities they’re supposed to serve. But the law still stands and lenders can’t pretend otherwise, even if the OCC wants to.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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