Congress has assigned to the Federal Reserve Board responsibility for implementing certain laws pertaining to a wide range of banking and financial activities. The Board implements those laws in part through its consumer regulations.
Consumer Affairs examiners evaluate how banks comply with a number of consumer protection and civil rights laws enacted by Congress.
Examiners conduct a separate review 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—without compromising the safety and soundness of the bank's operations. Examiners prepare confidential reports of their examination findings and issue them to bank management. They also prepare an evaluation document that discloses the bank's CRA rating and performance. Upon request, banks must make these documents available to the public.
In March 2000, the Board of Governors conducted a special CRA loan survey to gather information about the performance and profitability of CRA-related lending. The two parts of the survey focus on experiences with one- to four-family residential lending and special lending programs.
The Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968, which launched the truth-in-lending disclosures, was landmark legislation. For the first time, creditors had to state the cost of borrowing—in plain English—so that consumers could understand creditors' charges, compare costs and shop for the best credit deal.
To help consumers understand their rights, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors has prepared a Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws.
Consumer regulations cover a range of topics, from equal credit opportunity to fair housing to funds availability. For more information, see:
All Federal Reserve Regulations—A complete listing from Regulation A through EE (Board of Governors website).
Consumer Affairs letters address significant policy and procedural matters related to the Federal Reserve System's consumer compliance supervisory responsibilities. (For more information, visit the Board of Governors website.)