For Immediate Release
From Democracy Forward
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and California Reinvestment Coalition Agree to Dismiss Lawsuit In Response to OCC’s Rescission
San Francisco — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced the full rescission of its Trump-era 2020 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rule, which did away with critical anti-redlining protections and decreased investment in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color, contrary to the purpose of the CRA.
Today, in response to the OCC’s rescission of the rule, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) agreed to dismiss their lawsuit challenging the rule. NCRC and CRC, represented by Democracy Forward and Farella Braun + Martel, filed suit in June 2020 to vacate the unlawful rule, which violated the Administrative Procedure Act and was finalized without sufficient data to support its many harmful revisions. A federal judge rejected an attempt to dismiss the lawsuit in January 2021.
“This was a hard-fought battle that not only included our lawsuit but also advocacy from our members across the country, and this is a big win for all of us,” said Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of NCRC. “With the disastrous 2020 rule now behind us, we are ready to look to the future for new interagency rules from all three federal banking agencies. A modernized CRA must be applied across the entire financial industry and it must include a robust consideration of race. Together, these changes will strengthen the CRA to provide more services, lending and investments to all underserved communities.”
“Today’s OCC ruling is a big win for communities of color and low- and moderate-income communities who rely on the CRA for protection from the discriminatory practice of redlining,” said CRC Executive Director Paulina Gonzalez-Brito. “This action from the OCC is the culmination of a long fight. Millions can breathe a bit easier today. We celebrate alongside our members, NCRC, and the many organizers and advocates who fought tirelessly against this rule. This is the fruits of their labor.”
“We’re deeply proud of our work with NCRC and CRC to ensure the detrimental changes made in the Trump administration’s 2020 CRA rule are set aside,” said Democracy Forward Managing Senior Counsel Jeffrey Dubner. “The OCC’s decision prevents a harmful Trump-era rollback from inflicting long-lasting damage on low-income communities and communities of color, which would have lost access to credit and capital under the rule. Now, the agency can focus its efforts on developing new, equitable regulations to ensure financial institutions meet the urgent needs of these communities, especially in the midst of a public health and economic crisis.”
The OCC’s latest announcement ensures the entirety of the 2020 rule will be shelved, reverting to the prior regulations while the OCC continues an interagency process to draft new CRA rules with the Federal Reserve Board and FDIC. The OCC halted the implementation of portions of the 2020 rule earlier this year. But many damaging provisions, like the rule’s designation of activities eligible for credit under the CRA, had already gone into effect and will now be withdrawn.
Learn more about the groups’ lawsuit here.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 that litigates cases involving government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and achieved victories supporting democracy and improving the lives and wellbeing of people and communities. Democracy Forward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business. NCRC was formed in 1990 by national, regional and local organizations to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities. NCRC has grown into an association of more than 600 community-based organizations in 42 states that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation and vibrant communities for America’s working families.
The California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) is the largest statewide community reinvestment coalition in the country, with over 300 member organizations across California that provide services to tens of thousands of Californians. CRC members include affordable housing developers, community development financial institutions, housing counseling agencies, small business technical assistance providers, legal services agencies, and community-based organizations.