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Washington
House committee chair Frank CRA to be re-examined
WASHINGTON (3/10/10)--Speaking during a Tuesday House Financial Services Committee hearing on community development financial institutions (CDFIs), Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) suggested that he and committee colleague Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) could soon re-examine and consider expanding the reach of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Potential legislation that would extend the CRA beyond banks to other financial institutions, including credit unions, has several co-sponsors and could come up in Congress this year. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions last year spoke out against forcing credit unions under CRA standards, instead promoting voluntary initiatives such as its Community Development Partners Program. Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr called for greater support for CDFIs, and Community Development Financial Institution Fund Director Donna Gambrell highlighted the CDFI Fund’s recently begun review of its authorizing statute. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking minority member of the committee, said that greater oversight of CDFI programs is needed. In a prepared statement, Bachus said that while CDFIs “have a proven track record of providing economic development dollars to underserved communities,” the success of CDFIs should not “lead to looser standards” and the government should “ensure that the CDFI Fund program is properly administered so that funds are provided to individuals and entities that both have productive uses for it and would otherwise not have access to financing.” Bachus also opposed redirecting funds from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program into the CDFI Program.


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