Examiners evaluate the degree to which banking organizations are complying with applicable consumer protection and civil rights laws enacted by Congress. Common review areas include residential real estate lending, consumer non-real estate lending, credit cards and deposit products. Each bank receives an overall consumer compliance rating that reflects the effectiveness of the institution’s compliance management system to identify and manage compliance risk in the institution’s products and services, and, ultimately, prevent violations of law and consumer harm. At the conclusion of the examination, the rating and findings are communicated through a confidential report of examination issued to the bank’s management.
As part of each consumer compliance examination, examiners also conduct a fair lending review, evaluating the institution’s compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Fair Housing Act (FHA). Examiners review the bank’s fair lending compliance management system, ensure minority areas are being served and conduct analyses of lending data to ascertain if there are differences in treatment based upon prohibited basis group (sex, race, ethnicity, etc.). Findings from the fair lending review contribute to the institution’s overall consumer compliance rating.
Additionally, examiners conduct a separate review of the bank’s performance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to determine how well a bank is meeting the credit needs of its entire community—in particular, the credit needs of low- and moderate-income individuals, as well as businesses and farms of different revenue sizes—without compromising the safety and soundness of the bank’s operations. Examiners prepare a performance evaluation document that discloses the bank’s CRA rating and performance. The CRA rating is separate from the overall consumer compliance rating. Upon request, banks must make their performance evaluation available to the public.