What is the CRA?
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a federal law enacted in 1977 that is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. The CRA is at the heart of many partnerships between financial institutions and community development organizations. The regulation that implements the CRA was revised substantially in 1995 and reviewed in 2002. It underwent a number of significant rule changes in 2005.
The CRA requires that each insured depository institution's record in helping meet the credit needs of its entire community be evaluated periodically. That record is taken into account in considering an institution's application for deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions. CRA examinations are conducted by the federal agencies that are responsible for supervising depository institutions: the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Each of these sites includes the examination schedules and performance ratings for the institutions supervised by that regulator.
Interagency information about the CRA is available from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
How do fair lending laws and the Community Reinvestment Act interact?
The fair lending laws and the Community Reinvestment Act view lending through two different lenses: one focused on protected classes and one focused on income level. Yet despite the distinction, the laws can work in concert to promote more equal access to credit. Learn more in our recent Community Dividend feature, Fair lending laws and the CRA: Complementary tools for increasing equitable access to credit.
Watch now: A video introduction to the CRA
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) helps bring billions of dollars in bank capital to low- and moderate-income communities every year, but its provisions aren’t always well understood. Whether you’re a banker, community leader, or consumer, this short video from the Federal Reserve will help you get to know the CRA better.