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Big changes may be on the horizon for CRA and Bank Secrecy Act compliance

Joe Mont | June 19, 2018

Ambitious plans are afoot to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act and requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act, both of which date back to the 1970s. That’s the word from Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting during testimony last week before the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee.

The CRA was created by Congress to encourage banks to meet the credit and deposit needs of customers that they serve, including low- and moderate-income communities, while maintaining safe and sound operations.  It was, in large part, intended as a response to concerns that financial institutions were “redlining” less affluent neighborhoods and zip codes.

Since its enactment in 1977, very little has changed. Banks are periodically assigned a CRA rating by one of their primary regulators based on their performance under the appropriate CRA tests or approved Strategic Plan.  In April, the Treasury Department released recommendations to modernize the CRA to...

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