California Coalition Demands that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Freeze Community Reinvestment Act Public Rulemaking Underway Amidst the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis and Push for More Resources Dedicated for Response

The emerging COVID-19 epidemic is a massive threat to the health and safety of the public; imperiling the health of many people in the United States and disrupting the daily life of everyone. It’s impacts will last for months. We are in a drastically different world when federal agencies issued or prepared to issue public notices and comments. There remains no doubt the future remains uncertain as we wrestle with the health and economic impacts of the COVID19 epidemic. 

Consequently, the Office of the Comptroller must halt its efforts to remake the Community Reinvestment Act to guarantee a transparent and fair rulemaking process where the public can provide meaningful input for federal rulemaking underway. Our democratic process demands a process in which the people can share their views on important regulations and laws that will impact their daily life. Pausing rulemaking underway does not require halting action needed to respond to the public health crisis at hand. All federal resources should be directed to contend with the health and economic consequences of this pandemic.

CRC experts issued the following statement:

“During this period of unprecedented vulnerability, instability, and anxiety, all federal efforts should be focused on responding to this crisis. CRC and our members are on the frontlines. We call on all non essential regulatory efforts that are not tied to COVID-19 to be suspended until all Americans are safe and able to effectively participate in our democratic processes. In particular, we can’t allow current regulatory efforts to undermine important civil rights laws and safeguards, like the rulemaking underway regarding the Community Reinvestment Act, to proceed as planned.” said California Reinvestment Coalition Executive Director Paulina Gonzalez-Brito

CRC members issued statements:

“We are experiencing the desperation among small business owners first hand — the request for capital to keep businesses afloat has increased 200% in just the first weeks of the COVID-19 related shut down. This is an unprecedented economic crisis commanding an immediate investment of resources and opportunities for our small businesses. Implementing new regulations and rules during this time is counter-productive as it will cause confusion and hinder the economic recovery. We ask that federal organizations like the SBA and the OCC “hit pause” on any new federal regulations or rules and focus on supporting our nation’s small businesses.” said Robert Villareal, Vice President, CDC Small Business Finance

“The CRA is one of our nation’s most important civil rights laws. As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis and recovery, laws like this will be more important than ever. The CRA needs to be modernized, but the changes federal regulators have proposed would weaken it, not strengthen it. We must hit the pause button on making any changes to the law until we stabilize, assess the damage, and figure out what’s needed to move forward in the post-COVID-19 landscape.” said Gwendy Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy at Opportunity Fund