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Providing for Congressional Disapproval of Rule Submitted By Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Relating to ``Community Reinvestment Act Regulations''

Floor Speech

Date: June 26, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TIPTON. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in opposition to the resolution on the floor today.

We agree that the Community Reinvestment Act is an important historic piece of legislation; however, my friends across the aisle have mischaracterized the OCC's rule and the modernization of the CRA.

First, the OCC's rulemaking process has been thorough, inclusive, and thoughtful. CRA regulations haven't been meaningfully updated since 1995, making this a much-needed effort to ensure that regulations match the modern state of the banking industry.

The OCC's processes included input from the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, and the Treasury Department.

The OCC has also provided ample opportunities for regulated banks and consumer groups to weigh in.

What is more, 94 percent of the participants in the OCC's advance notice of proposed rulemaking agreed that the current CRA rules lack objectivity, transparency, and fairness. These are the central themes to the OCC's modernization effort.

Second, this update to the CRA is needed now more than ever. One large bank's CEO recently noted that due to COVID-19, the bank has seen somewhere between a 17 and 35 percent increase in online banking activity that normally would have been conducted in the branch. Americans are turning to online banking resources now more than ever.

The OCC's rule takes steps to be able to ensure that CRA dollars go into low-to-moderate income communities where banks draw their deposits, not only where they have bank branches. This change is forward-looking and should mark significant new opportunities to be able to invest in underserved communities.

Third, the OCC regularly and meaningfully engaged with critics in the rulemaking process. The OCC met with community, consumer, and academic groups to listen to their concerns about the proposal.

These meetings resulted in real changes to the OCC's final rule, including a raised exemption threshold for community banks, changes to the treatment of mortgage origination and sale on the secondary market for purposes of the CRA, and raising the bar for a passing grade in CRA examinations.

This rule creates greater accountability between banks and the communities they invest in under the CRA. It adds transparency in what activity counts towards CRA credit, creates fairer and more timely examinations, and allows CRA performances to be measured assessment over assessment and against other banks. It also allows banks to reach new constituencies with their CRA dollars, most notably disabled, Tribal, rural, and farm populations.

By increasing regulatory certainty and reducing subjectivity, the OCC CRA modernization rule can equal greater lending and investment in underserved communities.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the measure.