Texas Community Reinvestment Update 2007

Appendix A:
CRA Evaluations

The FRB oversees state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System and bank holding companies. The FDIC oversees state-chartered banks and savings banks that are not Federal Reserve members. The OTS regulates the thrift industry, and the OCC regulates national banks, federal branches and agencies of foreign banks, their employees, stockholders and agents. These four banking regulatory agencies regularly examine the financial institutions under their supervision using CRA regulation and examination procedures adopted in 1995.

CRA Examinations and Ratings

Institutions accountable to the FDIC, FRS and OCC follow three asset-size thresholds. First, the "small bank" threshold includes banks that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years had less than $1.033 billion in assets. Second, the "Intermediate small bank" threshold applies to small banks with assets of at least $258 million and not more than $1.033 billion as of December 31 of both of the two previous calendar years. And third, financial institutions that accept deposits can claim exemption from 2007 CRA data collection requirements of the FRB as a small bank or intermediate small bank if they have less than $1.033 billion as of December 31, 2006 or December 31, 2005.

Institutions regulated by the OTS are "small savings associations" with assets of less than $1 billion as of December 31 of either of the two previous calendar years. Savings associations with assets of less than $1 billion on December 31, 2006 or December 31, 3005 can claim exemption from 2007 CRA data FRB data collection requirements.

The FRB allows small banks, intermediate small banks to submit CRA data to preserve the option of a large bank exam. Small savings associations may provide CRA data to the FRB to preserve their option of a large institution exam.

Large CRA bank examinations include three tests.

  1. A lending test accounts for about 50 percent of the CRA bank examination and uses data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and CRA disclosure statements. The lending test evaluates the number and amount of community development loans within the metropolitan statistical area. Investments that qualify for CRA lending test credit include lawful investments, deposits and membership shares or grants with community development as their primary purpose.
  2. A service test evaluates the public's accessibility to the bank's financial and community development services. Banks have the option of submitting a strategic plan for the approval by its regulatory agency. Banks that do not extend home mortgages, small business loans, farm loans or consumer loans to retail customers and that have been designated as a wholesale bank by their primary regulator take a limited CRA exam.
  3. The investment test examines a bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area through qualified investments that benefit the area(s) or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the bank's assessment area. This test excludes activities already considered under either the lending or service tests. At the bank's option, the OCC will consider a qualified investment made by an affiliate bank when the investment is not already claimed by another financial institution.

The CRA allows a bank to be evaluated under a strategic plan. This option allows the bank to link its CRA objectives to the needs of the community and the bank's own business capacities, goals and expertise. The specific contents of a strategic plan and the OCC's criteria for evaluating these plans are found in 12 CFR 25.27 of OCC's CRA regulation. The criteria include requiring the bank to submit its strategic plan to OCC three months before the proposed plan's effective date; requiring measurable goals for helping meet the credit needs of each assessment area covered by the plan with emphasis on the needs of low- and moderate-income geographies and individuals through lending, investment and services. Among other criteria, the OCC considers the distribution of loans among different geographies, businesses and farms of various sizes, individuals and the extent of community development lending.[77]

Regulatory agencies do not award any particular amount of CRA "credit" for a specific financial or community development service. Large financial institutions may receive CRA ratings of outstanding, satisfactory, low to satisfactory, needs to improve or substantial noncompliance.