On December 4, 2021, the OCC issued a final rule that rescinds its June 2020 Consumer Reinvestment Act (CRA) final rule and replaces it with a rule that is largely based on the OCC’s 1995 CRA rule that was adopted jointly with the Federal Reserve Board and FDIC. The final rule is effective January 1, 2022. Except for the provisions dealing with public notice requirements that have an April 1, 2022 compliance date, the remainder of the rule has a January 1, 2022 compliance date.
The June 2020 rule was welcomed by OCC-supervised institutions because it represented a change from a ratings system that was primarily subjective to one that was primarily objective. However, because the June 2020 rule was strongly criticized by consumer advocates, the announcement by Acting Comptroller Hsu in July 2021 that the OCC would propose rescinding the June 2020 rule was not unexpected.
On the same day that the OCC announced its plans to rescind the June 2020 rule, the OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve Board announced that they are working together to “strengthen and modernize the rules implementing the CRA.” In its discussion of the new final rule, the OCC calls the rule an “important step” in this interagency process “because it reestablishes generally uniform rules that apply to all [insured depository institutions].” The OCC indicated that its final rule would eventually be replaced by future interagency CRA rules.
With regard to the agencies’ plans to work together on CRA reform, it is unclear whether those plans will be impacted by the current power struggle that has emerged at the FDIC between its three Democratic members and its Republican chair.