In 1977, Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which required federal financial regulatory agencies to encourage regulated financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of their local communities, including low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. The law specified that such community lending activity be consistent with safe and sound operation of the institutions. An institution's record of meeting the credit needs of its entire community is taken into consideration by its supervisory agency when the institution seeks to expand through merger, acquisition or branching.
In 1981, each of the 12 Federal Reserve banks established a Community Development office to work with depository institutions and the public in identifying credit needs within the community and innovative ways to address those needs. The St. Louis Fed's Engagement Team provides information about successful initiatives and programs for community investment; reinvestment; small-business lending; affordable housing; and community, rural and economic development.
Below you will find CRA resources from across the Federal Reserve System. In addition, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) website houses information related to public reports on bank examinations, CRA Questions and Answers (which clarify various aspects of the CRA) and other important resources.
In general, the Fed's role in Community Development is to: