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Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Questions and Answers for Bank Customers

How can I find out if my bank is scheduled for a CRA examination?  

Each quarter, the OCC releases a list of national banks  to be examined under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in the next two calendar quarters. This announcement allows interested parties to file public comments about the banks’ performance under the CRA.

How can I comment on a bank's CRA performance? 

Interested parties may submit comments on a bank’s CRA performance to the bank directly, the appropriate OCC Supervisory office, by email at, or by mailing comments to: Compliance Risk Policy Division, Bank Supervision Policy, OCC, Washington, DC 20219. All public comments received before the close of the CRA examination will be considered by the OCC in  a bank’s evaluation.

How can I find a bank's CRA evaluation? 

You can search the OCC's CRA Database for a bank's CRA evaluations and ratings.

What are OCC's responsibilities under the CRA? 

In accordance with safe and sound operations, OCC—

  • Assesses a national bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods; and
  • Considers that record in evaluating a bank's application for new branches, relocation of an existing branch, mergers and consolidations, and other corporate activities.

Does the CRA apply to all depository institutions? 

The CRA applies to depository institutions that carry FDIC deposit insurance.

The CRA does not apply to special purpose banks (12 CFR 25.11), such as bankers banks and banks that—

  • Provide cash management controlled disbursement services, or
  • Serve as correspondent banks, trust companies, or clearing agents 12 USC 24 (Seventh).

How does OCC determine a CRA rating? 

OCC evaluates a financial institution's activities under CRA according to the performance tests and standards set forth in the CRA rule and based on information about—

  • The institution: Its capacity, constraints, business strategies, competitors, and peers; and
  • The community: Its demographic and economic data, and lending, investment, and service opportunities.

The CRA statute establishes a four-tiered rating system:

  • Outstanding
  • Satisfactory
  • Needs to Improve
  • Substantial Noncompliance

Banks receive an overall rating as well as ratings based on an evaluation of their CRA performance in each state in which they have branches. Banks also receive a rating in multistate metropolitan areas where they have branches in two or more states.

What is included in a CRA performance evaluation? 

The CRA performance evaluation (PE) generally includes a description of the institution and its assessment area(s); conclusions about the bank’s performance in each of its assessment areas: its CRA rating(s); and the facts, data, and analyses supporting the bank’s conclusions and rating(s).

How often does the OCC conduct a CRA examination? 

In general, the OCC conducts a CRA examination of a national bank every three to four years. There is an extended examination cycle for smaller banks as follows:

* Mandated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

Is OCC the only federal regulator for the CRA? 

No. The OCC is the federal regulator for national banks and federal savings associations. The following agencies have regulatory responsibilities for other types of financial institutions.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRS)

Regulator for state-charted banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Regulator for insured state banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System