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Barry Wides, Deputy Comptroller for Community Affairs, OCC
This issue of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) Community Developments Investments explores how national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) can partner with community development financial institutions (CDFI), other nonprofit organizations, and federal and local leaders and agencies to help rebuild and better prepare communities for natural disasters and emergencies.
Banks often provide immediate relief and humanitarian aid after disasters to help their communities and customers with recovery efforts. In addition, many banks have contributed grants and investments to help fund the operation of nonprofit organizations—in particular, CDFIs and minority depository institutions (MDI)—serving low- and moderate-income communities. National intermediaries such as Enterprise Community Partners can support these collaborations through networks of nonprofit organizations and the support of local and national government initiatives. Such collaborations are critical to the financing of rebuilding efforts, including affordable housing and economic development projects, and the sustainability of small businesses and community facilities.
In recognition of the important role that CDFIs and MDIs play, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, established the Emergency Capital Investment Program and the CDFI Rapid Response Program, which together provide $10.25 billion to CDFIs and MDIs.1 The funds expand the ability of CDFIs and MDIs to provide financial services in the hard-hit, low- and moderate-income communities that they serve and that have disproportionately suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a Minority Lending Program, funded at $1.75 billion, was created for the CDFI Fund to provide grants to CDFIs to expand lending, grant-making, or investment activity in low- or moderate-income minority communities and to minorities who have significant unmet capital or financial service needs.
To encourage banks to help struggling communities, the federal banking agencies favorably consider for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) purposes retail banking services and lending activities in a bank's assessment area that respond to the needs of low- and moderate-income individuals, small businesses, and small farms affected by the pandemic.2
The OCC's District Community Affairs Officers (DCAO), who are based across the nation in each OCC district, are available to assist banks and community groups collaborate to support disaster recovery and other community development efforts. Our DCAOs are familiar with bank CRA responsibilities, community needs, nonprofit groups, and local leaders who work to revitalize and rebuild the communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic and natural disasters. Contact information for the OCC's DCAOs and information about economic recovery resources and activities are available on the OCC's Community Affairs page.
1 The act was signed into law on December 27, 2020.
2 The federal banking agencies responsible for evaluating banks for CRA are the OCC, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
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Collection: Community Developments Investments
Banks are partnering with community financial institutions and other local organizations to help communities across the nation recover from flooding, fires, other natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Stock photos.
Call (202) 649-6420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This and previous editions are available on the OCC's website at www.occ.gov/communityaffairs.
Articles by non-OCC authors represent the authors’ own views and not necessarily the views of the OCC.