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Home > News & Events > Inactive Financial Institution Letters 




Inactive Financial Institution Letters 


[Federal Register: October 21, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 204)]
[Notices]               
[Page 54647-54667]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL
 
Community Reinvestment Act; Interagency Questions and Answers 
Regarding Community Reinvestment

AGENCY: Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

ACTION: Notice and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The Consumer Compliance Task Force of the Federal Financial 
Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) is issuing Interagency 
Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment (Interagency 
Questions and Answers). To help financial institutions meet their 
responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and to 
increase public understanding of their CRA regulations, the staffs of 
the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal 
Reserve Board (Board), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 
(FDIC), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) (collectively, the 
``agencies'') have prepared answers to the most frequently asked 
questions about community reinvestment. The Interagency Questions and 
Answers contain informal staff guidance for agency personnel, financial 
institutions, and the public.

DATES: Public comment is invited on a continuing basis.

ADDRESSES: Questions and comments may be sent to Joe M. Cleaver, 
Executive Secretary, Federal Financial Institutions Examination 
Council, 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20037, 
or by facsimile transmission to (202) 634-6556.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: OCC: Malloy Harris, National Bank 
Examiner, Consumer and Fiduciary Compliance Division, (202) 874-4446; 
or Margaret Hesse, Senior Attorney, Community and Consumer Law 
Division, (202) 874-5750, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 
250 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20219.
    Board: Glenn E. Loney, Associate Director, Division of Consumer and 
Community Affairs, (202) 452-3585; or Robert deV. Frierson, Assistant 
General Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 452-3711, Board of Governors of 
the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20551.
    FDIC: Bobbie Jean Norris, Chief, Fair Lending Section, Division of 
Compliance and Consumer Affairs, (202) 942-3090; or Ann Hume Loikow, 
Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-3796, Federal Deposit Insurance 
Corporation, 550 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20429.
    OTS: Theresa A. Stark, Project Manager, Compliance Policy, (202) 
906-

[[Page 54648]]

7054; or Richard R. Riese, Project Manager, Compliance Policy, (202) 
906-6134, Office of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, 
DC 20552.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Last year, the agencies revised their CRA regulations by issuing a 
joint final rule, which was published on May 4, 1995 (60 FR 22156). See 
12 CFR parts 25, 228, 345 and 563e, implementing 12 U.S.C. 2901 et seq. 
The agencies published two notices of proposed rulemaking prior to 
publishing the joint final rule. See 58 FR 67466 (Dec. 21, 1993); 59 FR 
51232 (Oct. 7, 1994). The agencies published related clarifying 
documents on December 20, 1995 (60 FR 66048) and May 10, 1996 (61 FR 
21362).
    Since publishing the joint final rule, the agencies have received 
numerous questions from financial institutions, examiners, and others 
about the new regulations. Some of the questions were answered in the 
preambles to the two proposed rules and the final rules. Some other 
questions were addressed in the FFIEC's Questions and Answers regarding 
community reinvestment, published in the Federal Register on February 
19, 1993, (58 FR 9176) in connection with the CRA regulations then in 
effect. The agencies answered technical data reporting questions in an 
unpublished interagency document, Questions and Answers on CRA Data 
Collection and Reporting, issued in December 1995, and mailed directly 
to financial institutions and other interested parties. Additionally, 
the agencies have answered some questions through interagency staff 
letters and other informal communications.
    The purpose of these Interagency Questions and Answers is to 
consolidate, to the extent possible, useful CRA information into a 
comprehensive document. These Interagency Questions and Answers 
supplement other documents that the agencies are not specifically 
superseding, including, for example, interagency staff CRA interpretive 
letters. See ``Related action'' below.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA)

    The SBREFA requires an agency, for each rule for which it prepares 
a final regulatory flexibility analysis, to publish one or more 
compliance guides to help small entities understand how to comply with 
the rule.
    Pursuant to section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the 
agencies certified that their proposed CRA rule would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
and invited public comments on that determination. See 58 FR 67478 
(Dec. 21, 1993); 59 FR 51250 (Oct. 7, 1994). In response to public 
comment, the agencies voluntarily prepared a final regulatory 
flexibility analysis for the joint final rule, although the analysis 
was not required because it supported the agencies'' earlier 
certification regarding the proposed rule. Because a regulatory 
flexibility analysis was not required, section 212 of the SBREFA does 
not apply to the final CRA rule. However, in their continuing efforts 
to provide clear, understandable regulations and to comply with the 
spirit of the SBREFA, the agencies have compiled the Interagency 
Questions and Answers. The Interagency Questions and Answers serve the 
same purpose as the compliance guide described in the SBREFA by 
providing guidance on a variety of issues of particular concern to 
small banks and thrifts.

Related Action

    The Questions and Answers regarding community reinvestment 
published in the Federal Register on February 19, 1993, (58 FR 9176) 
continue to apply to institutions that are examined under the 12 
assessment factors in the CRA regulations as they existed prior to 
their amendment on May 4, 1994 (12 CFR 25.7, 228.7, 345.7, and 563e.7). 
However, as institutions become subject to evaluation under the 
performance tests and standards of the amended CRA regulations, these 
Interagency Questions and Answers supersede, and, on July 1, 1997, the 
FFIEC will withdraw in its entirety, the February 1993 Questions and 
Answers regarding community reinvestment. These Interagency Questions 
and Answers subsume and supersede the December 1995 Questions and 
Answers on CRA Data Collection and Reporting.

Comments

    The agencies invite public comment on a continuing basis. The 
agencies intend to update the Interagency Questions and Answers on a 
regular basis. If, after reading the Interagency Questions and Answers, 
financial institutions, examiners, community groups, or other 
interested parties have unanswered questions or comments about the 
agencies' community reinvestment regulations, they should submit them 
to the agencies. The agencies will consider including questions 
received from the public in future guidance.

Interagency Questions and Answers Format

    Questions and answers are grouped by the provision of the CRA 
regulations that they explicate and are presented in the same order as 
the regulatory provisions.
    The Interagency Questions and Answers employ an abbreviated method 
to cite to the regulations. Because the regulations of the four 
agencies are substantively identical, corresponding sections of the 
different regulations usually bear the same suffix. Therefore, the 
Interagency Questions and Answers typically cite only to the suffix. 
For example, the small bank performance standards for national banks 
appear at 12 CFR 25.26; for Federal Reserve member banks, they appear 
at 12 CFR 228.26; for nonmember banks, at 12 CFR 345.26; and for 
thrifts, at 12 CFR 563e.26. Accordingly, the citation in this document 
would be to Sec. ----.26. In the few instances where the suffix in one 
of the regulations is different, the specific citation for that 
regulation is provided.
    The text of the Interagency Questions and Answers follows:

Text of the Interagency Questions and Answers

Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment

Table of Contents
    The agencies are providing answers to questions pertaining to the 
following provisions and topics of the CRA regulations:

Section ____.11--Authority, purposes, and scope

____.11(c) Scope
    25.11(c)(3), 228.11(c)(3) & 345.11(c)(3) Certain special purpose 
banks

Section ____.12--Definitions

____.12(a) Affiliate
____.12(f) & 563e.12(e) Branch
____.12(h) & 563e.12(g) Community development
____.12(h)(3) & 563e.12(g)(3) Activities that promote economic 
development by financing businesses or farms that meet certain size 
eligibility standards
____.12(i) & 563e.12(h) Community development loan
____.12(j) & 563e.12(i) Community development service
____.12(k) & 563e.12(j) Consumer loan
____.12(m) & 563e.12(l) Home mortgage loan
____.12(n) & 563e.12(m) Income level
____.12(o) & 563e.12(n) Limited purpose institution
____.12(s) & 563e.12(r) Qualified investment
____.12(t) Small institution
____.12(u) Small business loan
____.12(w) Wholesale institution

[[Page 54649]]

Section ____.21--Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in general

____.21(a) Performance tests and standards
____.21(b) Performance context
    ____.21(b)(2) Information maintained by the institution or 
obtained from community contacts
    ____.21(b)(4) Institutional capacity and constraints
    ____.21(b)(5) Institution's past performance and the performance 
of similarly situated lenders

Section ____.22--Lending test

____.22(a) Scope of test
    ____.22(a)(1) Types of loans considered
    ____.22(a)(2) Other loan data
____.22(b) Performance criteria
    ____.22(b)(1) Lending activity
    ____.22(b)(2) and (3) Geographic distribution and borrower 
characteristics
____.22(c) Affiliate lending
    ____.22(c)(1) In general
    ____.22(c)(2) Constraints on affiliate lending
    ____.22(c)(2)(i) No affiliate may claim a loan origination or 
loan purchase if another institution claims the same loan 
origination or purchase
    ____.22(c)(2)(ii) If an institution elects to have its 
supervisory agency consider loans within a particular lending 
category made by one or more of the institution's affiliates in a 
particular assessment area, the institution shall elect to have the 
agency consider all loans within that lending category in that 
particular assessment area made by all of the institution's 
affiliates
____.22(d) Lending by a consortium or a third party

Section ____.23--Investment test

____.23(b) Exclusion

Section ____.24--Service test

____.24(d) Performance criteria--retail banking services
    ____.24(d)(3) Availability and effectiveness of alternative 
systems for delivering retail banking services

Section ____.25 Community development test for wholesale or limited 
purpose institutions

____.25(d) Indirect activities
____.25(f) Community development performance rating

Section ____.26--Small institution performance standards

____.26(a) Performance criteria
    ____.26(a)(1) Loan-to-deposit ratio
    ____.26(a)(2) Percentage of lending within assessment area(s)
    ____.26(a)(3) and (4) Distribution of lending within assessment 
area(s) by borrower income and geographic location
____.26(b) Performance rating

Section ____.27--Strategic plan

____.27(c) Plans in general
____.27(f) Plan content
    ____.27(f)(1) Measurable goals
____.27(g) Plan approval
    ____.27(g)(2) Public participation

Section ____.28--Assigned ratings

____.28(a) Ratings in general

Section ____.29--Effect of CRA performance on applications

____.29(a) CRA performance
____.29(b) Interested parties

Section ____.41--Assessment area delineation

____.41(a) In general
____.41(c) Geographic area(s) for institutions other than wholesale 
or limited purpose institutions
    ____.41(c)(1) Generally consist of one or more MSAs or one or 
more contiguous political subdivisions
____.41(d) Adjustments to geographic area(s)
____.41(e) Limitations on delineation of an assessment area
    ____.41(e)(3) May not arbitrarily exclude low- or moderate-
income geographies
    ____.41(e)(4) May not extend substantially beyond a CMSA 
boundary or beyond a state boundary unless located in a multistate 
MSA

Section ____.42--Data collection, reporting, and disclosure

____.42(a) Loan information required to be collected and maintained
    ____.42(a)(2) Loan amount at origination
    ____.42(a)(3) The loan location
    ____.42(a)(4) Indicator of gross annual revenue
____.42(b) Loan information required to be reported
    ____.42(b)(1) Small business and small farm loan data
    ____.42(b)(2) Community development loan data
    ____.42(b)(3) Home mortgage loans
____.42(c) Optional data collection and maintenance
    ____.42(c)(1) Consumer loans
    ____.42(c)(1)(iv) Income of borrower
    ____.42(c)(2) Other loan data
____.42(d) Data on affiliate lending

Section ____.43--Content and availability of public file

____.43(a) Information available to the public
    ____.43(a)(1) Public comments
____.43(b) Additional information available to the public
    ____.43(b)(1) Institutions other than small institutions
____.43(c) Location of public information

Section ____.44--Public notice by institutions

Section ____.45--Publication of planned examination schedule

Appendix B to Part ____--CRA Notice
    The body of the Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding 
Community Reinvestment follows:

Section ____.11--Authority, Purposes, and Scope

____.11(c) Scope

25.11(c)(3), 228.11(c)(3) & 345.11(c)(3) Certain Special Purpose Banks

Q1. Is the list of special purpose banks exclusive?

    A1. No, there may be other examples of special purpose banks. These 
banks engage in specialized activities that do not involve granting 
credit to the public in the ordinary course of business. Special 
purpose banks typically serve as correspondent banks, trust companies, 
or clearing agents or engage only in specialized services, such as cash 
management controlled disbursement services. A financial institution, 
however, does not become a special purpose bank merely by ceasing to 
make loans and, instead, making investments and providing other retail 
banking services.

Q2. To be a special purpose bank, must a bank limit its activities in 
its charter?

    A2. No. A special purpose bank may, but is not required to, limit 
the scope of its activities in its charter, articles of association or 
other corporate organizational documents. A bank that does not have 
legal limitations on its activities, but has voluntarily limited its 
activities, however, would no longer be exempt from CRA requirements if 
it subsequently engaged in activities that involve granting credit to 
the public in the ordinary course of business. A bank that believes it 
is exempt from CRA as a special purpose bank should seek confirmation 
of this status from its supervisory agency.

Section ____.12--Definitions

____.12(a) Affiliate

Q1. Does the definition of ``affiliate'' include subsidiaries of an 
institution?

    A1. Yes, ``affiliate'' includes any company that controls, is 
controlled by, or is under common control with another company. An 
institution's subsidiary is controlled by the institution and is, 
therefore, an affiliate.

____.12(f) & 563e.12(e) Branch

Q1. Do the definitions of ``branch,'' ``automated teller machine 
(ATM),'' and ``remote service facility (RSF)'' include mobile branches, 
ATMs, and RSFs?

    A1. Yes. Staffed mobile offices that are authorized as branches are 
considered ``branches'' and mobile ATMs and RSFs are considered 
``ATMs'' and ``RSFs.''

Q2. Are loan production offices (LPOs) branches for purposes of the 
CRA?

    A2. LPOs and other offices are not ``branches'' unless they are 
authorized as branches of the institution through the regulatory 
approval process of the institution's supervisory agency.

[[Page 54650]]

____.12(h) & 563e.12(g) Community development

Q1. Are community development activities limited to those that promote 
economic development?

    A1. No. Although the definition of ``community development'' 
includes activities that promote economic development by financing 
small businesses or farms, the rule does not limit community 
development loans and services and qualified investments to those 
activities. Community development also includes community- or tribal-
based child care, educational, health, or social services targeted to 
low- or moderate-income persons, affordable housing for low- or 
moderate-income individuals, and activities that revitalize or 
stabilize low- or moderate-income areas.

Q2. Must a community development activity occur inside a low- or 
moderate-income area in order for an institution to receive CRA 
consideration for the activity?

    A2. No. Community development includes activities outside of low- 
and moderate-income areas that provide affordable housing for, or 
community services targeted to, low- or moderate-income individuals and 
activities that promote economic development by financing small 
businesses and farms. Activities that stabilize or revitalize 
particular low- or moderate-income areas (including by creating, 
retaining, or improving jobs for low- or moderate-income persons) also 
qualify as community development, even if the activities are not 
located in these low- or moderate-income areas. One example is 
financing a supermarket that serves as an anchor store in a small strip 
mall located at the edge of a middle-income area, if the mall 
stabilizes the adjacent low-income community by providing needed 
shopping services that are not otherwise available in the low-income 
community.

Q3. Does the regulation provide flexibility in considering performance 
in high-cost areas?

    A3. Yes, the flexibility of the performance standards allows 
examiners to account in their evaluations for conditions in high-cost 
areas. Examiners consider lending and services to individuals and 
geographies of all income levels and businesses of all sizes and 
revenues. In addition, the flexibility in the requirement that 
community development loans, community development services, and 
qualified investments have as their ``primary'' purpose community 
development allows examiners to account for conditions in high-cost 
areas. For example, examiners could take into account the fact that 
activities address a credit shortage among middle-income people or 
areas caused by the disproportionately high cost of building, 
maintaining or acquiring a house when determining whether an 
institution's loan to or investment in an organization that funds 
affordable housing for middle-income people or areas, as well as low- 
and moderate-income people or areas, has as its primary purpose 
community development.

____.12(h)(3) & 563e.12(g)(3) Activities that promote economic 
development by financing businesses or farms that meet certain size 
eligibility standards

Q1. ``Community development'' includes activities that promote economic 
development by financing businesses or farms that meet certain size 
eligibility standards. Do all activities that finance these businesses 
and farms promote economic development?

    A1. No, not necessarily. The agencies will presume that all 
financing for small businesses or farms made through Small Business 
Administration programs, such as an investment in a Small Business 
Investment Company, has an economic development purpose. Other 
activities that finance small businesses or farms that meet the size 
eligibility standards must support permanent job creation, retention, 
and/or improvement for persons who are currently low- or moderate-
income or finance businesses and farms located in low- or moderate-
income geographies or in geographies targeted for redevelopment by 
federal, state, local or tribal governments in order to be considered 
as promoting economic development.

____.12(i) & 563e.12(h) Community development loan

Q1. What are examples of community development loans?

    A1. Examples of community development loans include, but are not 
limited to, loans to:
     Borrowers for affordable housing rehabilitation and 
construction, including construction and permanent financing of 
multifamily rental property serving low- and moderate-income persons;
     Not-for-profit organizations serving primarily low- and 
moderate-income housing or other community development needs;
     Borrowers to construct or rehabilitate community 
facilities that are located in low- and moderate-income areas or that 
serve primarily low- and moderate-income individuals;
     Financial intermediaries including Community Development 
Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Development Corporations 
(CDCs), minority- and women-owned financial institutions, community 
loan funds or pools, and low-income or community development credit 
unions that primarily lend or facilitate lending to promote community 
development.
     Local, state, and tribal governments for community 
development activities; and
     Borrowers to finance environmental clean-up or 
redevelopment of an industrial site as part of an effort to revitalize 
the low- or moderate-income community in which the property is located.

Q2. If a retail institution that is not required to report under the 
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) makes affordable home mortgage 
loans that would be HMDA-reportable home mortgage loans if it were a 
reporting institution, or if a small institution that is not required 
to collect and report loan data under CRA makes small business and 
small farm loans and consumer loans that would be collected and/or 
reported if the institution were a large institution, may the 
institution have these loans considered as community development loans?

    A2. No. Although small institutions are not required to report or 
collect information on small business and small farm loans and consumer 
loans, and some institutions are not required to report information 
about their home mortgage loans under HMDA, if these institutions are 
retail institutions, the agencies will consider in their CRA 
evaluations the institutions' originations and purchases of loans that 
would have been collected or reported as small business, small farm, 
consumer or home mortgage loans, had the institution been a collecting 
and reporting institution under the CRA or the HMDA. Therefore, these 
loans will not be considered as community development loans. 
Multifamily dwelling loans, however, may be considered as community 
development loans as well as home mortgage loans. See also Q&A2 
addressing Sec. ____.42(b)(2).

Q3. Do secured credit cards or other credit card programs targeted to 
low- or moderate-income individuals qualify as community development 
loans?

    A3. No. Credit cards issued to low- or moderate-income individuals 
for household, family, or other personal expenditures, whether as part 
of a

[[Page 54651]]

program targeted to such individuals or otherwise, do not qualify as 
community development loans because they do not have as their primary 
purpose any of the activities included in the definition of ``community 
development.''

Q4. The regulation indicates that community development includes 
``activities that revitalize or stabilize low- or moderate-income 
geographies.'' Do all loans in a low- to moderate-income geography have 
a stabilizing effect?

    A4. No. Some loans may provide only indirect or short-term benefits 
to low- or moderate-income individuals in a low- or moderate-income 
geography. These loans are not considered to have a community 
development purpose. For example, a loan for upper-income housing in a 
distressed area is not considered to have a community development 
purpose simply because of the indirect benefit to low- or moderate-
income persons from construction jobs or the increase in the local tax 
base that supports enhanced services to low- and moderate-income area 
residents. On the other hand, a loan for an anchor business in a 
distressed area (or a nearby area), that employs or serves residents of 
the area, and thus stabilizes the area, may be considered to have a 
community development purpose. For example, in an underserved, 
distressed area, a loan for a pharmacy that employs, and provides 
supplies to, residents of the area promotes community development.

Q5. Must there be some immediate or direct benefit to the institution's 
assessment area(s) to satisfy the regulations' requirement that 
qualified investments and community development loans or services 
benefit an institution's assessment area(s) or a broader statewide or 
regional area that includes the institution's assessment area(s)?

    A5. No, the regulations, for example, recognize that community 
development organizations and programs are frequently efficient and 
effective ways for institutions to promote community development. These 
organizations and programs often operate on a statewide or even multi-
state basis. Therefore, an institution's activity is considered a 
community development loan or service or a qualified investment if it 
supports an organization or activity that covers an area that is larger 
than, but includes, the institution's assessment area(s). The 
institution's assessment area need not receive an immediate or direct 
benefit from the institution's specific participation in the broader 
organization or activity, provided the purpose, mandate, or function of 
the organization or activity includes serving geographies or 
individuals located within the institution's assessment area. 
Furthermore, the regulations permit a wholesale or limited purpose 
institution to consider community development loans, community 
development services, and qualified investments wherever they are 
located, as long as the institution has otherwise adequately addressed 
the credit needs within its assessment area(s).

Q6. What is meant by a ``regional area'' in the requirement that a 
community development loan must benefit the institution's assessment 
area(s) or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the 
institution's assessment area(s)?

    A6. A ``regional area'' may be as small as a city or county or as 
large as a multistate area. For example, the ``mid-Atlantic states'' 
may comprise a regional area. When examiners evaluate community 
development loans that benefit a regional area that includes the 
institution's assessment area, however, the examiners will consider the 
size of the regional area and the actual or potential benefit to the 
institution's assessment area(s). In most cases, the larger the 
regional area, the more diffuse the benefit will be to the 
institution's assessment area(s). Examiners may view loans with more 
direct benefits to an institution's assessment area(s) as more 
responsive to the credit needs of the area(s) than loans for which the 
actual benefit to the assessment area(s) is uncertain or for which the 
benefit is diffused throughout a larger area that includes the 
assessment area(s).

____.12(j) & 563e.12(i) Community development service

Q1. In addition to meeting the definition of ``community development'' 
in the regulation, community development services must also be related 
to the provision of financial services. What is meant by ``provision of 
financial services'?

    A1. Providing financial services means providing services of the 
type generally provided by the financial services industry. Providing 
financial services often involves informing community members about how 
to get or use credit or otherwise providing credit services or 
information to the community. For example, service on the board of 
directors of an organization that promotes credit availability or 
finances affordable housing is related to the provision of financial 
services. Providing technical assistance about financial services to 
community-based groups, local or tribal government agencies, or 
intermediaries that help to meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-
income individuals or small businesses and farms is also providing 
financial services. By contrast, activities that do not take advantage 
of the employees' financial expertise, such as neighborhood cleanups, 
do not involve the provision of financial services.

Q2. Are personal charitable activities provided by an institution's 
employees or directors outside the ordinary course of their employment 
considered community development services?

    A2. No. Services must be provided as a representative of the 
institution. For example, if a financial institution's director, on her 
own time and not as a representative of the institution, volunteers one 
evening a week at a local community development corporation's financial 
counseling program, the institution may not consider this activity a 
community development service.

Q3. What are examples of community development services?

    A3. Examples of community development services include, but are not 
limited to, the following:
     Providing technical assistance on financial matters to 
nonprofit, tribal or government organizations serving low- and 
moderate-income housing or economic revitalization and development 
needs;
     Providing technical assistance on financial matters to 
small businesses or community development organizations;
     Lending employees to provide financial services for 
organizations facilitating affordable housing construction and 
rehabilitation or development of affordable housing;
     Providing credit counseling, home buyers and home 
maintenance counseling, financial planning or other financial services 
education to promote community development and affordable housing;
     Establishing school savings programs for low- or moderate-
income individuals;
     Providing electronic benefits transfer and point of sale 
terminal systems to improve access to financial services, such as by 
decreasing costs, for low- or moderate-income individuals; and
     Providing other financial services with the primary 
purpose of community development, such as low-cost bank accounts or 
free government check cashing that increases access to

[[Page 54652]]

financial services for low- or moderate-income individuals.
    Examples of technical assistance activities that might be provided 
to community development organizations include:
     Serving on a loan review committee;
     Developing loan application and underwriting standards;
     Developing loan processing systems;
     Developing secondary market vehicles or programs;
     Assisting in marketing financial services, including 
development of advertising and promotions, publications, workshops and 
conferences;
     Furnishing financial services training for staff and 
management;
     Contributing accounting/bookkeeping services; and
     Assisting in fund raising, including soliciting or 
arranging investments.

____.12(k) & 563e.12(j) Consumer loan

Q1. Are home equity loans considered ``consumer loans''?

    A1. Home equity loans made for purposes other than home purchase, 
home improvement or refinancing home purchase or home improvement loans 
are consumer loans if they are extended to one or more individuals for 
household, family, or other personal expenditures.

Q2. May a home equity line of credit be considered a ``consumer loan'' 
even if part of the line is for home improvement purposes?

    A2. If the predominant purpose of the line is home improvement, the 
line may only be reported under HMDA and may not be considered a 
consumer loan. However, the full amount of the line may be considered a 
``consumer loan'' if its predominant purpose is for household, family, 
or other personal expenditures, and to a lesser extent home 
improvement, and the full amount of the line has not been reported 
under HMDA. This is the case even though there may be ``double 
counting'' because part of the line may also have been reported under 
HMDA.

Q3. How should an institution collect or report information on loans 
the proceeds of which will be used for multiple purposes?

    A3. If an institution makes a single loan or provides a line of 
credit to a customer to be used for both consumer and small business 
purposes, consistent with the Call Report and TFR instructions, the 
institution should determine the major (predominant) component of the 
loan or the credit line and collect or report the entire loan or credit 
line in accordance with the regulation's specifications for that loan 
type.

____.12(m) & 563e.12(l) Home mortgage loan

Q1. Does the term ``home mortgage loan'' include loans other than 
``home purchase loans''?

    A1. Yes. ``Home mortgage loan'' includes a ``home improvement 
loan'' as well as a ``home purchase loan,'' as both terms are defined 
in the HMDA regulation, Regulation C, 12 CFR part 203. This definition 
also includes multifamily (five-or-more families) dwelling loans, loans 
for the purchase of manufactured homes, and refinancings of home 
improvement and home purchase loans.

Q2. Some financial institutions broker home mortgage loans. They 
typically take the borrower's application and perform other settlement 
activities; however, they do not make the credit decision. The broker 
institutions may also initially fund these mortgage loans, then 
immediately assign them to another lender. Because the broker 
institution does not make the credit decision, under Regulation C 
(HMDA), they do not record the loans on their HMDA-LARs, even if they 
fund the loans. May an institution receive any consideration under CRA 
for its home mortgage loan brokerage activities?

    A2. Yes. A financial institution that funds home mortgage loans but 
immediately assigns the loans to the lender that made the credit 
decisions may present information about these loans to examiners for 
consideration under the lending test as ``other loan data.'' Under 
Regulation C, the broker institution does not record the loans on its 
HMDA-LAR because it does not make the credit decisions, even if it 
funds the loans. An institution electing to have these home mortgage 
loans considered must maintain information about all of the home 
mortgage loans that it has funded in this way. Examiners will consider 
this other loan data using the same criteria by which home mortgage 
loans originated or purchased by an institution are evaluated.
    Institutions that do not provide funding but merely take 
applications and provide settlement services for another lender that 
makes the credit decisions will receive consideration for this service 
as a retail banking service. Examiners will consider an institution's 
mortgage brokerage services when evaluating the range of services 
provided to low-, moderate-, middle- and upper-income geographies and 
the degree to which the services are tailored to meet the needs of 
those geographies. Alternatively, an institution's mortgage brokerage 
service may be considered a community development service if the 
primary purpose of the service is community development. An institution 
wishing to have its mortgage brokerage service considered as a 
community development service must provide sufficient information to 
substantiate that its primary purpose is community development and to 
establish the extent of the services provided.

____.12(n) & 563e.12(m) Income level

Q1. Where do institutions find income level data for geographies and 
individuals?

    A1. The income levels for geographies, i.e., census tracts and 
block numbering areas, are derived from Census Bureau information and 
are updated every ten years. Institutions may contact their regional 
Census Bureau office or the Census Bureau's Income Statistics Office at 
(301) 763-8576 to obtain income levels for geographies. See Appendix A 
for a list of the regional Census Bureau offices. The income levels for 
individuals are derived from information calculated by the Department 
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and updated annually. 
Institutions may contact HUD at (800) 245-2691 to request a copy of 
``FY [year number, e.g., 1996] Median Family Incomes for States and 
their Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Portions.''
    Alternatively, institutions may obtain a list of the 1990 Census 
Bureau-calculated and the annually updated HUD median family incomes 
for MSAs and statewide nonmetropolitan areas by calling the Federal 
Financial Institution Examination Council's (FFIEC's) HMDA Help Line at 
(202) 452-2016. A free copy will be faxed to the caller through the 
``fax-back'' system. Institutions may also call this number to have 
``faxed-back'' an order form, from which they may order a list 
providing the median family income level, as a percentage of the 
appropriate MSA or nonmetropolitan median family income, of every 
census tract and BNA. This list costs $50. Institutions may also obtain 
the list of MSA and statewide nonmetropolitan area median family 
incomes or an order form through the FFIEC's CRA home page on the 
Internet at `http://www.ffiec.bog.frb.fed.us/cra/'.

[[Page 54653]]

____.12(o) & 563e.12(n) Limited purpose institution

Q1. What constitutes a ``narrow product line'' in the definition of 
``limited purpose institution''

    A1. An institution offers a narrow product line by limiting its 
lending activities to a product line other than a traditional retail 
product line required to be evaluated under the lending test (i.e., 
home mortgage, small business, and small farm loans). Thus, an 
institution engaged only in making credit card or motor vehicle loans 
offers a narrow product line, while an institution limiting its lending 
activities to home mortgages is not offering a narrow product line.

Q2. What factors will the agencies consider to determine whether an 
institution that, if limited purpose, makes loans outside a narrow 
product line, or, if wholesale, engages in retail lending, will lose 
its limited purpose or wholesale designation because of too much other 
lending?

    A2. Wholesale institutions may engage in some retail lending 
without losing their designation if this activity is incidental and 
done on an accommodation basis. Similarly, limited purpose institutions 
continue to meet the narrow product line requirement if they provide 
other types of loans on an infrequent basis. In reviewing other lending 
activities by these institutions, the agencies will consider the 
following factors:
     Is the other lending provided as an incident to the 
institution's wholesale lending?
     Are the loans provided as an accommodation to the 
institution's wholesale customers?
     Are the loans made only infrequently to the limited 
purpose institution's customers?
     Does only an insignificant portion of the institution's 
total assets and income result from the other lending?
     How significant a role does the institution play in 
providing that type(s) of loan in the institution's assessment area(s)?
     Does the institution hold itself out as offering that 
type(s) of loan?
     Does the lending test or the community development test 
present a more accurate picture of the institution's CRA performance?

Q3. Do ``niche institutions'' qualify as limited purpose (or wholesale) 
institutions?

    A3. Generally, no. Institutions that are in the business of lending 
to the public, but specialize in certain types of retail loans (for 
example, home mortgage or small business loans) to certain types of 
borrowers (for example, to high-end income level customers or to 
corporations or partnerships of licensed professional practitioners) 
(``niche institutions'') generally would not qualify as limited purpose 
(or wholesale) institutions.

____.12(s) & 563e.12(r) Qualified investment

Q1. Does the CRA regulation provide authority for institutions to make 
investments?

    A1. No. The CRA regulation does not provide authority for 
institutions to make investments that are not otherwise allowed by 
Federal law.

Q2. Are mortgage-backed securities or municipal bonds ``qualified 
investments''?

    A2. As a general rule, mortgage-backed securities and municipal 
bonds are not qualified investments because they do not have as their 
primary purpose community development, as defined in the CRA 
regulations. Nonetheless, mortgage-backed securities or municipal bonds 
designed primarily to finance community development generally are 
qualified investments. Municipal bonds or other securities with a 
primary purpose of community development need not be housing-related. 
For example, a bond to fund a community facility or park or to provide 
sewage services as part of a plan to redevelop a low-income 
neighborhood is a qualified investment. Housing-related bonds or 
securities must primarily address affordable housing (including 
multifamily rental housing) needs in order to qualify.

Q3. Are Federal Home Loan Bank stocks and membership reserves with the 
Federal Reserve Banks ``qualified investments''?

    A3. No. Federal Home Loan Bank stock and membership reserves with 
the Federal Reserve Banks do not have a sufficient connection to 
community development to be qualified investments.

Q4. What are examples of qualified investments?

    A4. Examples of qualified investments include, but are not limited 
to, investments, grants, deposits or shares in or to:
     Financial intermediaries (including, Community Development 
Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Development Corporations 
(CDCs), minority- and women-owned financial institutions, community 
loan funds, and low-income or community development credit unions) that 
primarily lend or facilitate lending in low- and moderate-income areas 
or to low- and moderate-income individuals in order to promote 
community development, such as a CDFI that promotes economic 
development on an Indian reservation;
     Organizations engaged in affordable housing rehabilitation 
and construction, including multifamily rental housing;
     Organizations, including, for example, Small Business 
Investment Companies (SBICs) and specialized SBICs, that promote 
economic development by financing small businesses;
     Facilities that promote community development in low- and 
moderate-income areas for low- and moderate-income individuals, such as 
youth programs, homeless centers, soup kitchens, health care 
facilities, battered women's centers, and alcohol and drug recovery 
centers;
     Projects eligible for low-income housing tax credits;
     State and municipal obligations, such as revenue bonds, 
that specifically support affordable housing or other community 
development;
     Not-for-profit organizations serving low- and moderate-
income housing or other community development needs, such as counseling 
for credit, home-ownership, home maintenance, and other financial 
services education; and
     Organizations supporting activities essential to the 
capacity of low- and moderate-income individuals or geographies to 
utilize credit or to sustain economic development, such as, for 
example, day care operations and job training programs that enable 
people to work.

Q5. Will an institution receive consideration for charitable 
contributions as ``qualified investments''?

    A5. Yes, provided they have as their primary purpose community 
development as defined in the regulations. A charitable contribution, 
whether in cash or an in-kind contribution of property, is included in 
the term ``grant.'' A qualified investment is not disqualified because 
an institution receives favorable treatment for it (for example, as a 
tax deduction or credit) under the Internal Revenue Code.

[[Page 54654]]

Q6. An institution makes or participates in a community development 
loan. The institution provided the loan at below-market interest rates 
or ``bought down'' the interest rate to the borrower. Is the lost 
income resulting from the lower interest rate or buy-down a qualified 
investment?

    A6. No. The agencies will, however, consider the innovativeness and 
complexity of the community development loan within the bounds of safe 
and sound banking practices.

Q7. Will the agencies consider as a qualified investment the wages or 
other compensation of an employee or director who provides assistance 
to a community development organization on behalf of the institution?

    A7. No. However, the agencies will consider donated labor of 
employees or directors of a financial institution in the service test 
if the activity is a community development service.

____.12(t) Small institution

Q1. How are the ``total bank and thrift assets'' of a holding company 
determined?

    A1. ``Total banking and thrift assets'' of a holding company are 
determined by combining the total assets of all banks and/or thrifts 
that are majority-owned by the holding company. An institution is 
majority-owned if the holding company directly or indirectly owns more 
than 50 percent of its outstanding voting stock.

Q2. How are Federal and State branch assets of a foreign bank 
calculated for purposes of the CRA?

    A2. A Federal or State branch of a foreign bank is considered a 
small institution if the Federal or State branch has less than $250 
million in assets and the total assets of the foreign bank's or its 
holding company's U.S. bank and thrift subsidiaries that are subject to 
the CRA are less than $1 billion. This calculation includes not only 
FDIC-insured bank and thrift subsidiaries, but also the assets of any 
FDIC-insured branch of the foreign bank and the assets of any uninsured 
Federal or State branch (other than a limited branch or a Federal 
agency) of the foreign bank that results from an acquisition described 
in section 5(a)(8) of the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 
Sec. 3103(a)(8)).

____.12(u) Small business loan

Q1. Are loans to nonprofit organizations considered small business 
loans or are they considered community development loans?

    A1. To be considered a small business loan, a loan must meet the 
definition of ``loan to small business'' in the instructions in the 
``Consolidated Reports of Conditions and Income'' (Call Report) and 
``Thrift Financial Reports'' (TFR). In general, a loan to a nonprofit 
organization, for business or farm purposes, where the loan is secured 
by nonfarm nonresidential property and the original amount of the loan 
is $1 million or less, if a business loan, or $500,000 or less, if a 
farm loan, would be reported in the Call Report and TFR as a small 
business or small farm loan. If a loan to a nonprofit organization is 
reportable as a small business or small farm loan, it cannot also be 
considered as a community development loan, except by a wholesale or 
limited purpose institution. Loans to nonprofit organizations that are 
not small business or small farm loans for Call Report and TFR purposes 
may be considered as community development loans if they meet the 
regulatory definition.

Q2. Are loans secured by commercial real estate considered small 
business loans?

    A2. Yes, depending on their principal amount. Small business loans 
include loans secured by ``nonfarm nonresidential properties,'' as 
defined in the Call Report and TFR, in amounts less than $1 million.

Q3. Are loans secured by nonfarm residential real estate to finance 
small businesses ``small business loans'?

    A3. No. Loans secured by nonfarm residential real estate that are 
used to finance small businesses are not included as ``small business'' 
loans for Call Report and TFR purposes. The agencies recognize that 
many small businesses are financed by loans secured by residential real 
estate. If these loans promote community development, as defined in the 
regulation, they may be considered as community development loans. 
Otherwise, at an institution's option, the institution may collect and 
maintain data separately concerning these loans and request that the 
data be considered in its CRA evaluation as ``Other Secured Lines/Loans 
for Purposes of Small Business.''

Q4. Are credit cards issued to small businesses considered ``small 
business loans''

    A4. Credit cards issued to a small business or to individuals to be 
used, with the institution's knowledge, as business accounts are small 
business loans if they meet the definitional requirements in the Call 
Report or TFR instructions.

____.12(w) Wholesale institution

Q1. What factors will the agencies consider in determining whether an 
institution is in the business of extending home mortgage, small 
business, small farm, or consumer loans to retail customers?

    A1. The agencies will consider whether:
     The institution holds itself out to the retail public as 
providing such loans; and
     The institution's revenues from extending such loans are 
significant when compared to its overall operations.
    A wholesale institution may make some retail loans without losing 
its wholesale designation as described above in Q&A2 addressing 
sections ____.12(o) and 563e.12(n).

Section ____.21--Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in 
general

____.21(a) Performance tests and standards

Q1. Are all community development activities weighted equally by 
examiners?

    A1. No, examiners will consider the responsiveness to credit and 
community development needs, as well as the innovativeness and 
complexity of an institution's community development lending, qualified 
investments, and community development services. These criteria include 
consideration of the degree to which they serve as a catalyst for other 
community development activities. The criteria are designed to add a 
qualitative element to the evaluation of an institution's performance.

____.21(b) Performance context

Q1. Is the performance context essentially the same as the former 
regulation's needs assessment?

    A1. No. The performance context is a broad range of economic, 
demographic, and institution- and community-specific information that 
an examiner reviews to understand the context in which an institution's 
record of performance should be evaluated. The agencies will provide 
examiners with much of this

[[Page 54655]]

information prior to the examination. The performance context is not a 
formal or written assessment of community credit needs.

____.21(b)(2) Information maintained by the institution or obtained 
from community contacts

Q1. Will examiners consider performance context information provided by 
institutions?

    A1. Yes. An institution may provide examiners with any information 
it deems relevant, including information on the lending, investment, 
and service opportunities in its assessment area(s). This information 
may include data on the business opportunities addressed by lenders not 
subject to the CRA. Institutions are not required, however, to prepare 
a needs assessment. If an institution provides information to 
examiners, the agencies will not expect information other than what the 
institution normally would develop to prepare a business plan or to 
identify potential markets and customers, including low- and moderate-
income persons and geographies in its assessment area(s). The agencies 
will not evaluate an institution's efforts to ascertain community 
credit needs or rate an institution on the quality of any information 
it provides.

Q2. Will examiners conduct community contact interviews as part of the 
examination process?

    A2. Yes. Examiners will consider information obtained from 
interviews with local community, civic, and government leaders. These 
interviews provide examiners with knowledge regarding the local 
community, its economic base, and community development initiatives. To 
ensure that information from local leaders is considered--particularly 
in areas where the number of potential contacts may be limited--
examiners may use information obtained through an interview with a 
single community contact for examinations of more than one institution 
in a given market. In addition, the agencies will consider information 
obtained from interviews conducted by other agency staff and by the 
other agencies. In order to augment contacts previously used by the 
agencies and foster a wider array of contacts, the agencies will share 
community contact information.

____.21(b)(4) Institutional capacity and constraints

Q1. Will examiners consider factors outside of an institution's control 
that prevent it from engaging in certain activities?

    A1. Yes. Examiners will take into account statutory and supervisory 
limitations on an institution's ability to engage in any lending, 
investment, and service activities. For example, a savings association 
that has made few or no qualified investments due to its limited 
investment authority may still receive a low satisfactory rating under 
the investment test if it has a strong lending record.

____.21(b)(5) Institution's past performance and the performance of 
similarly situated lenders

Q1. Can an institution's assigned rating be adversely affected by poor 
past performance?

    A1. Yes. The agencies will consider an institution's past 
performance in its overall evaluation. For example, an institution's 
past performance may support a rating of ``substantial noncompliance'' 
if the institution has not improved performance rated as ``needs to 
improve.''

Q2. How will examiners consider the performance of similarly situated 
lenders?

    A2. The performance context section of the regulation permits the 
performance of similarly situated lenders to be considered, for 
example, as one of a number of considerations in evaluating the 
geographic distribution of an institution's loans to low-,
moderate-, middle-, and upper-income geographies. This analysis, as 
well as other analyses, may be used, for example, where groups of 
contiguous geographies within an institution's assessment area(s) 
exhibit abnormally low penetration. In this regard, the performance of 
similarly situated lenders may be analyzed if such an analysis would 
provide accurate insight into the institution's lack of performance in 
those areas. The regulation does not require the use of a specific type 
of analysis under these circumstances. Moreover, no ratio developed 
from any type of analysis is linked to any lending test rating.

Section ____.22--Lending test

____.22(a) Scope of test

____.22(a)(1) Types of loans considered

Q1. If a large retail institution is not required to collect and report 
home mortgage data under the HMDA, will the agencies still evaluate the 
institution's home mortgage lending performance?

    A1. Yes. The agencies will sample the institution's home mortgage 
loan files in order to assess its performance under the lending test 
criteria.

Q2. When will examiners consider consumer loans as part of an 
institution's CRA evaluation?

    A2. Consumer loans will be evaluated if the institution so elects; 
and an institution that elects not to have its consumer loans evaluated 
will not be viewed less favorably by examiners than one that does. 
However, if consumer loans constitute a substantial majority of the 
institution's business, the agencies will evaluate them even if the 
institution does not so elect. The agencies interpret ``substantial 
majority'' to be so significant a portion of the institution's lending 
activity by number or dollar volume of loans that the lending test 
evaluation would not meaningfully reflect its lending performance if 
consumer loans were excluded.

____.22(a)(2) Other loan data

Q1. How are lending commitments (such as letters of credit) evaluated 
under the regulation?

    A1. The agencies consider lending commitments (such as letters of 
credit) only at the option of the institution. Commitments must be 
legally binding between an institution and a borrower in order to be 
considered. Information about lending commitments will be used by 
examiners to enhance their understanding of an institution's 
performance.

Q2. Will examiners review application data as part of the lending test?

    A2. Application activity is not a performance criterion of the 
lending test. However, examiners may consider this information in the 
performance context analysis because this information may give 
examiners insight on, for example, the demand for loans.

[[Page 54656]]

Q3: May a financial institution receive consideration under CRA for 
modification, extension, and consolidation agreements (MECAs), in which 
it obtains loans from other institutions without actually purchasing or 
refinancing the loans, as those terms have been interpreted under CRA?

    A3: Yes. In some states, MECAs, which are not considered loan 
refinancings because the existing loan obligations are not satisfied 
and replaced, are common. Although these transactions are not 
considered to be purchases or refinancings, as those terms have been 
interpreted under CRA, they do achieve the same results. An institution 
may present information about its MECA activities to examiners for 
consideration under the lending test as ``other loan data.''

____.22(b) Performance criteria

Q1. How will examiners apply the performance criteria in the lending 
test?

    A1: Examiners will apply the performance criteria reasonably and 
fairly, in accord with the regulations, the examination procedures, and 
this Guidance. In doing so, examiners will disregard efforts by an 
institution to manipulate business operations or present information in 
an artificial light that does not accurately reflect an institution's 
overall record of lending performance.

____.22(b)(1) Lending activity

Q1. How will the agencies apply the lending activity criterion to 
discourage an institution from originating loans that are viewed 
favorably under CRA in the institution itself and referring other 
loans, which are not viewed as favorably, for origination by an 
affiliate?

    A1. Examiners will review closely institutions with (1) a small 
number and amount of home mortgage loans with an unusually good 
distribution among low- and moderate-income areas and low- and 
moderate-income borrowers and (2) a policy of referring most, but not 
all, of their home mortgage loans to affiliated institutions. If an 
institution is making loans mostly to low- and moderate-income 
individuals and areas and referring the rest of the loan applicants to 
an affiliate for the purpose of receiving a favorable CRA rating, 
examiners may conclude that the institution's lending activity is not 
satisfactory because it has inappropriately attempted to influence the 
rating. In evaluating an institution's lending, examiners will consider 
legitimate business reasons for the allocation of the lending activity.

____.22(b)(2) and (3) Geographic distribution and borrower 
characteristics

Q1. How do the geographic distribution of loans and the distribution of 
lending by borrower characteristics interact in the lending test?

    A1. Examiners generally will consider both the distribution of an 
institution's loans among geographies of different income levels and 
among borrowers of different income levels and businesses of different 
sizes. The importance of the borrower distribution criterion, 
particularly in relation to the geographic distribution criterion, will 
depend on the performance context. For example, distribution among 
borrowers with different income levels may be more important in areas 
without identifiable geographies of different income categories. On the 
other hand, geographic distribution may be more important in areas with 
the full range of geographies of different income categories.

Q2. Must an institution lend to all portions of its assessment area?

    A2. The term ``assessment area'' describes the geographic area 
within which the agencies assess how well an institution has met the 
specific performance tests and standards in the rule. The agencies do 
not expect that simply because a census tract or block numbering area 
is within an institution's assessment area(s) the institution must lend 
to that census tract or block numbering area. Rather the agencies will 
be concerned with conspicuous gaps in loan distribution that are not 
explained by the performance context. Similarly, if an institution 
delineated the entire county in which it is located as its assessment 
area, but could have delineated its assessment area as only a portion 
of the county, it will not be penalized for lending only in that 
portion of the county, so long as that portion does not reflect illegal 
discrimination or arbitrarily exclude low- or moderate-income 
geographies. The capacity and constraints of an institution, its 
business decisions about how it can best help to meet the needs of its 
assessment area(s), including those of low- and moderate-income 
neighborhoods, and other aspects of the performance context, are all 
relevant to explain why the institution is serving or not serving 
portions of its assessment area(s).

Q3. Will examiners take into account loans made by affiliates when 
evaluating the proportion of an institution's lending in its assessment 
area(s)?

    A3. Examiners will not take into account loans made by affiliates 
when determining the proportion of an institution's lending in its 
assessment area(s), even if the institution elects to have its 
affiliate lending considered in the remainder of the lending test 
evaluation. However, examiners may consider an institution's business 
strategy of conducting lending through an affiliate in order to 
determine whether a low proportion of lending in the assessment area(s) 
should adversely affect the institution's lending test rating.

Q4. When will examiners consider loans (other than community 
development loans) made outside an institution's assessment area(s)?

    A4. Favorable consideration will be given for loans to low- and 
moderate-income persons and small business and farm loans outside of an 
institution's assessment area(s), provided the institution has 
adequately addressed the needs of borrowers within its assessment 
area(s). The agencies will apply this consideration not only to loans 
made by large retail institutions being evaluated under the lending 
test, but also to loans made by small institutions being evaluated 
under the small institution performance standards. Loans to low- and 
moderate-income persons and small businesses and farms outside of an 
institution's assessment area(s), however, will not compensate for poor 
lending performance within the institution's assessment area(s).

____.22(c) Affiliate lending

____.22(c)(1) In general

Q1. If an institution elects to have loans by its affiliate(s) 
considered, may it elect to have only certain categories of loans 
considered?

    A1. Yes. An institution may elect to have only a particular 
category of its affiliate's lending considered. The basic categories of 
loans are home mortgage loans, small business loans, small farm loans, 
community development loans, and the five categories of consumer loans 
(motor vehicle loans, credit card loans, home equity loans, other 
secured loans, and other unsecured loans).

[[Page 54657]]

____.22(c)(2) Constraints on affiliate lending

____.22(c)(2)(i) No affiliate may claim a loan origination or loan 
purchase if another institution claims the same loan origination or 
purchase

Q1. How is this constraint on affiliate lending applied?

    A1. This constraint prohibits one affiliate from claiming a loan 
origination or purchase claimed by another affiliate. However, an 
institution can count as a purchase a loan originated by an affiliate 
that the institution subsequently purchases, or count as an origination 
a loan later sold to an affiliate, provided the same loans are not sold 
several times to inflate their value for CRA purposes.

____.22(c)(2)(ii) If an institution elects to have its supervisory 
agency consider loans within a particular lending category made by 
one or more of the institution's affiliates in a particular 
assessment area, the institution shall elect to have the agency 
consider all loans within that lending category in that particular 
assessment area made by all of the institution's affiliates

Q1. How is this constraint on affiliate lending applied?

    A1. This constraint prohibits ``cherry-picking'' affiliate loans 
within any one category of loans. The constraint requires an 
institution that elects to have a particular category of affiliate 
lending in a particular assessment area considered to include all loans 
of that type made by all of its affiliates in that particular 
assessment area. For example, assume that an institution has one or 
more affiliates, such as a mortgage bank that makes loans in the 
institution's assessment area. If the institution elects to include the 
mortgage bank's home mortgage loans, it must include all of mortgage 
bank's home mortgage loans made in its assessment area. The institution 
cannot elect to include only those low- and moderate-income home 
mortgage loans made by the mortgage bank affiliate and not home 
mortgage loans to middle- and upper-income individuals or areas.

Q2. How is this constraint applied if an institution's affiliates are 
also insured depository institutions subject to the CRA?

    A2. Strict application of this constraint against ``cherry-
picking'' to loans of an affiliate that is also an insured depository 
institution covered by the CRA would produce the anomalous result that 
the other institution would, without its consent, not be able to count 
its own loans. Because the agencies did not intend to deprive an 
institution subject to the CRA of receiving consideration for its own 
lending, the agencies read this constraint slightly differently in 
cases involving a group of affiliated institutions, some of which are 
subject to the CRA and share the same assessment area(s). In those 
circumstances, an institution that elects to include all of its 
mortgage affiliate's home mortgage loans in its assessment area would 
not automatically be required to include all home mortgage loans in its 
assessment area of another affiliate institution subject to the CRA. 
However, all loans of a particular type made by any affiliate in the 
institution's assessment area(s) must either be counted by the lending 
institution or by another affiliate institution that is subject to the 
CRA. This reading reflects the fact that a holding company may, for 
business reasons, choose to transact different aspects of its business 
in different subsidiary institutions. However, the method by which 
loans are allocated among the institutions for CRA purposes must 
reflect actual business decisions about the allocation of banking 
activities among the institutions and should not be designed solely to 
enhance their CRA evaluations.

____.22(d) Lending by a consortium or a third party

Q1. Will equity and equity-type investments in a third party receive 
positive consideration under the lending test?

    A1. If an institution has made an equity or equity-type investment 
in a third party, loans made by the third party may be considered under 
the lending test. On the other hand, asset-backed and debt securities 
that do not represent an equity-type interest in a third party will not 
be considered under the lending test unless the securities are booked 
by the purchasing institution as a loan. For example, if an institution 
purchases stock in a community development corporation (``CDC'') that 
primarily lends in low- and moderate-income areas or to low- and 
moderate-income individuals in order to promote community development, 
the institution may claim a pro rata share of the CDC's loans as 
community development loans. The institution's pro rata share is based 
on its percentage of equity ownership in the CDC. Q&A1 addressing 
section ____.23(b) provides information concerning consideration of an 
equity or equity-type investment under the investment test and both the 
lending and investment tests.

Q2. How will examiners evaluate loans made by consortia or third 
parties under the lending test?

    A2. Loans originated or purchased by consortia in which an 
institution participates or by third parties in which an institution 
invests will only be considered if they qualify as community 
development loans and will only be considered under the community 
development criterion of the lending test. However, loans originated 
directly on the books of an institution or purchased by the institution 
are considered to have been made or purchased directly by the 
institution, even if the institution originated or purchased the loans 
as a result of its participation in a loan consortium. These loans 
would be considered under all the lending test criteria appropriate to 
them depending on the type of loan.

Q3. In some circumstances, an institution may invest in a third party, 
such as a community development bank, that is also an insured 
depository institution and is thus subject to CRA requirements. If the 
investing institution requests its supervisory agency to consider its 
pro rata share of community development loans made by the third party, 
as allowed under 12 CFR Sec. ____.22(d), may the third party also 
receive consideration for these loans?

    A3. Yes, as long as the financial institution and the third party 
are not affiliates. The regulations state, at 12 CFR 
Sec. ____.22(c)(2)(i), that two affiliates may not both claim the same 
loan origination or loan purchase. However, if the financial 
institution and the third party are not affiliates, the third party may 
receive consideration for the community development loans it 
originates, and the financial institution that invested in the third 
party may also receive consideration for its pro rata share of the same 
community development loans under 12 CFR Sec. ____.22(d).

Section ____.23--Investment test

____.23(b) Exclusion

Q1. Even though the regulations state that an activity that is 
considered under the lending or service tests cannot also be considered 
under the investment test, may parts of an activity be considered under 
one test and other parts be considered under another test?

    A1. Yes, in some instances the nature of an activity may make it 
eligible for consideration under more than one of the performance 
tests. For example, certain investments and related support provided by 
a large retail institution to a CDC may be evaluated under the

[[Page 54658]]

lending, investment, and service tests. Under the service test, the 
institution may receive consideration for any community development 
services that it provides to the CDC, such as service by an executive 
of the institution on the CDC's board of directors. If the institution 
makes an investment in the CDC that the CDC uses to make community 
development loans, the institution may receive consideration under the 
lending test for its pro-rata share of community development loans made 
by the CDC. Alternatively, the institution's investment may be 
considered under the investment test, assuming it is a qualified 
investment. In addition, an institution may elect to have a part of its 
investment considered under the lending test and the remaining part 
considered under the investment test. If the investing institution opts 
to have a portion of its investment evaluated under the lending test by 
claiming a share of the CDC's community development loans, the amount 
of investment considered under the investment test will be offset by 
that portion. Thus, the institution would only receive consideration 
under the investment test for the amount of its investment multiplied 
by the percentage of the CDC's assets that meet the definition of a 
qualified investment.

Section ____.24--Service test

____.24(d) Performance criteria--retail banking services

Q1. How do examiners evaluate the availability and effectiveness of an 
institution's systems for delivering retail banking services?

    A1. Convenient access to full service branches within a community 
is an important factor in determining the availability of credit and 
non-credit services. Therefore, the service test performance standards 
place primary emphasis on full service branches while still considering 
alternative systems, such as automated teller machines (``ATMs'). The 
principal focus is on an institution's current distribution of 
branches; therefore, an institution is not required to expand its 
branch network or operate unprofitable branches. Under the service 
test, alternative systems for delivering retail banking services, such 
as ATMs, are considered only to the extent that they are effective 
alternatives in providing needed services to low- and moderate-income 
areas and individuals.

____.24(d)(3) Availability and effectiveness of alternative systems for 
delivering retail banking services

Q1. How will examiners evaluate alternative systems for delivering 
retail banking services?

    A1. The regulation recognizes the multitude of ways in which an 
institution can provide services, for example, ATMs, banking by 
telephone or computer, and bank-by-mail programs. Delivery systems 
other than branches will be considered positively under the regulation 
to the extent that they are effective alternatives to branches in 
providing needed services to low- and moderate-income areas and 
individuals. The list of systems in the regulation is not intended to 
be inclusive.

Q2. Are debit cards considered under the service test as an alternative 
delivery system?

    A2. By themselves, no. However, if debit cards are a part of a 
larger combination of products, such as a comprehensive electronic 
banking service, that allows an institution to deliver needed services 
to low- and moderate-income areas and individuals in its community, the 
overall delivery system that includes the debit card feature would be 
considered an alternative delivery system.

Section ____.25--Community development test for wholesale or limited 
purpose institutions

____.25(d) Indirect activities

Q1. How are investments in third party community development 
organizations considered under the community development test?

    A1. Similar to the lending test for retail institutions, 
investments in third party community development organizations may be 
considered as qualified investments or as community development loans 
or both (provided there is no double counting), at the institution's 
option, as described above in the discussion regarding sections 
____.22(d) and ____.23(b).

____.25(f) Community development performance rating

Q1. Must a wholesale or limited purpose institution engage in all three 
categories of community development activities (lending, investment and 
service) to perform well under the community development test?

    A1. No, a wholesale or limited purpose institution may perform well 
under the community development test by engaging in one or more of 
these activities.

Section ____.26--Small institution performance standards

____.26(a) Performance criteria

Q1. May examiners consider, under one or more of the performance 
criteria of the small institution performance standards, lending-
related activities, such as community development loans and lending-
related qualified investments, when evaluating a small institution?

    A1. Yes. Examiners can consider ``lending-related activities,'' 
including community development loans and lending-related qualified 
investments, when evaluating the first four performance criteria of the 
small institution performance test. Although lending-related activities 
are specifically mentioned in the regulation in connection with only 
the first three criteria (i.e., loan-to-deposit ratio, percentage of 
loans in the institution's assessment area, and lending to borrowers of 
different incomes and businesses of different sizes), examiners can 
also consider these activities when they evaluate the fourth criteria--
geographic distribution of the institution's loans.

Q2. What is meant by ``as appropriate'' when referring to the fact that 
lending-related activities will be considered, ``as appropriate,'' 
under the various small institution performance criteria?

    A2. ``As appropriate'' means that lending-related activities will 
be considered when it is necessary to determine whether an institution 
meets or exceeds the standards for a satisfactory rating. Examiners 
will also consider other lending-related activities at an institution's 
request.

Q3. When evaluating a small institution's lending performance, will 
examiners consider, at the institution's request, community development 
loans originated or purchased by a consortium in which the institution 
participates or by a third party in which the institution has invested?

    A3. Yes. However, a small institution that elects to have examiners 
consider community development loans originated or purchased by a 
consortium or third party must maintain sufficient information on its 
share of the community development loans so that the examiners may 
evaluate these loans under the small institution performance criteria.

[[Page 54659]]

Q4. Under the small institution performance standards, will examiners 
consider both loan originations and purchases?

    A4. Yes, consistent with the other assessment methods in the 
regulation, examiners will consider both loans originated and purchased 
by the institution. Likewise, examiners may consider any other loan 
data the small institution chooses to provide, including data on loans 
outstanding, commitments and letters of credit.

Q5. Under the small institution performance standards, how will 
qualified investments be considered for purposes of determining whether 
a small institution receives a satisfactory CRA rating?

    A5. The small institution performance standards focus on lending 
and other lending-related activities. Therefore, examiners will 
consider only lending-related qualified investments for the purposes of 
determining whether the small institution receives a satisfactory CRA 
rating.

____.26(a)(1) Loan-to-deposit ratio

Q1. How is the loan-to-deposit ratio calculated?

    A1. A small institution's loan-to-deposit ratio is calculated in 
the same manner that the Uniform Bank Performance Report/Uniform Thrift 
Performance Report (UBPR/UTPR) determines the ratio. It is calculated 
by dividing the institution's net loans and leases by its total 
deposits. The ratio is found in the Liquidity and Investment Portfolio 
section of the UBPR and UTPR. Examiners will use this ratio to 
calculate an average since the last examination by adding the quarterly 
loan-to-deposit ratios and dividing the total by the number of 
quarters.

Q2. How is the ``reasonableness'' of a loan-to-deposit ratio evaluated?

    A2. No specific ratio is reasonable in every circumstance, and each 
small institution's ratio is evaluated in light of information from the 
performance context, including the institution's capacity to lend, 
demographic and economic factors present in the assessment area, and 
the lending opportunities available in the assessment area(s). If a 
small institution's loan-to-deposit ratio appears unreasonable after 
considering this information, lending performance may still be 
satisfactory under this criterion taking into consideration the number 
and the dollar volume of loans sold to the secondary market or the 
number and amount and innovativeness or complexity of community 
development loans and lending-related qualified investments.

Q3. If an institution makes a large number of loans off-shore, will 
examiners segregate the domestic loan-to-deposit ratio from the foreign 
loan-to-deposit ratio?

    A3. No. Examiners will look at the institution's net loan-to-
deposit ratio for the whole institution, without any adjustments.

____.26(a)(2) Percentage of lending within assessment area(s)

Q1. Must a small institution have a majority of its lending in its 
assessment area(s) to receive a satisfactory performance rating?

    A1. No. The percentage of loans and, as appropriate, other lending-
related activities located in the bank's assessment area(s) is but one 
of the performance criteria upon which small institutions are 
evaluated. If the percentage of loans and other lending related 
activities in an institution's assessment area(s) is less than a 
majority, then the institution does not meet the standards for 
satisfactory performance only under this criterion. The effect on the 
overall performance rating of the institution, however, is considered 
in light of the performance context, including information regarding 
economic conditions, loan demand, the institution's size, financial 
condition and business strategies, and branching network and other 
aspects of the institution's lending record.

____.26(a) (3) and (4) Distribution of lending within assessment 
area(s) by borrower income and geographic location

Q1. How will a small institution's performance be assessed under these 
lending distribution criteria?

    A1. Distribution of loans, like other small institution performance 
criteria, is considered in light of the performance context. For 
example, a small institution is not required to lend evenly throughout 
its assessment area(s) or in any particular geography. However, in 
order to meet the standards for satisfactory performance under this 
criterion, conspicuous gaps in a small institution's loan distribution 
must be adequately explained by performance context factors such as 
lending opportunities in the institution's assessment area(s), the 
institution's product offerings and business strategy, and 
institutional capacity and constraints. In addition, it may be 
impracticable to review the geographic distribution of the lending of 
an institution with few demographically distinct geographies within an 
assessment area. If sufficient information on the income levels of 
individual borrowers or the revenues or sizes of business borrowers is 
not available, examiners may use proxies such as loan size for 
estimating borrower characteristics, where appropriate.

____.26(b) Performance rating

Q1. How can a small institution achieve an ``outstanding'' performance 
rating?

    A1. A small institution that meets each of the standards for a 
``satisfactory'' rating and exceeds some or all of those standards may 
warrant an ``outstanding'' performance rating. In assessing performance 
at the ``outstanding'' level, the agencies consider the extent to which 
the institution exceeds each of the performance standards and, at the 
institution's option, its performance in making qualified investments 
and providing services that enhance credit availability in its 
assessment area(s). In some cases, a small institution may qualify for 
an ``outstanding'' performance rating solely on the basis of its 
lending activities, but only if its performance materially exceeds the 
standards for a ``satisfactory'' rating, particularly with respect to 
the penetration of borrowers at all income levels and the dispersion of 
loans throughout the geographies in its assessment area(s) that display 
income variation. An institution with a high loan-to-deposit ratio and 
a high percentage of loans in its assessment area(s), but with only a 
reasonable penetration of borrowers at all income levels or a 
reasonable dispersion of loans throughout geographies of differing 
income levels in its assessment area(s), generally will not be rated 
``outstanding'' based only on its lending performance. However, the 
institution's performance in making qualified investments and its 
performance in providing branches and other services and delivery 
systems that enhance credit availability in its assessment area(s) may 
augment the institution's satisfactory rating to the extent that it may 
be rated ``outstanding.''

Q2. Will a small institution's qualified investments, community 
development loans, and community development services be considered if 
they do not directly benefit its assessment area(s)?

    A2. Yes, these activities are eligible for consideration if they 
benefit a broader statewide or regional area that

[[Page 54660]]

includes a small institution's assessment area(s), as discussed more 
fully in Q&A6 addressing sections ____.12(i) and 563e.12(h).

Section ____.27--Strategic plan

____.27(c) Plans in general

Q1. To what extent will the agencies provide guidance to an institution 
during the development of its strategic plan?

    A1. An institution will have an opportunity to consult with and 
provide information to the agencies on a proposed strategic plan. 
Through this process, an institution is provided guidance on procedures 
and on the information necessary to ensure a complete submission. For 
example, the agencies will provide guidance on whether the level of 
detail as set out in the proposed plan would be sufficient to permit 
agency evaluation of the plan. However, the agencies' guidance during 
plan development and, particularly, prior to the public comment period, 
will not include commenting on the merits of a proposed strategic plan 
or on the adequacy of measurable goals.

Q2. How will a joint strategic plan be reviewed if the affiliates have 
different primary federal supervisors?

    A2. The agencies will coordinate review of and action on the joint 
plan. Each agency will evaluate the measurable goals for those 
affiliates for which it is the primary regulator.

____.27(f) Plan content

____.27(f)(1) Measurable goals

Q1. How should ``measurable goals'' be specified in a strategic plan?

    A1. Measurable goals (e.g., number of loans, dollar amount, 
geographic location of activity, and benefit to low- and moderate-
income areas or individuals) must be stated with sufficient specificity 
to permit the public and the agencies to quantify what performance will 
be expected. However, institutions are provided flexibility in 
specifying goals. For example, an institution may provide ranges of 
lending amounts in different categories of loans. Measurable goals may 
also be linked to funding requirements of certain public programs or 
indexed to other external factors as long as these mechanisms provide a 
quantifiable standard.

____.27(g) Plan approval

____.27(g)(2) Public participation

Q1. How will the public receive notice of a proposed strategic plan?

    A1. An institution submitting a strategic plan for approval by the 
agencies is required to solicit public comment on the plan for a period 
of thirty (30) days after publishing notice of the plan at least once 
in a newspaper of general circulation. The notice should be 
sufficiently prominent to attract public attention and should make 
clear that public comment is desired. An institution may, in addition, 
provide notice to the public in any other manner it chooses.

Section ____.28--Assigned ratings

____.28(a) Ratings in general

Q1. How are institutions with domestic branches in more than one state 
assigned a rating?

    A1. The evaluation of an institution that maintains domestic 
branches in more than one state (``multistate institution'') will 
include a written evaluation and rating of its CRA record of 
performance as a whole and in each state in which it has a domestic 
branch. The written evaluation will contain a separate presentation on 
a multistate institution's performance for each metropolitan 
statistical area and the nonmetropolitan area within each state, if it 
maintains one or more domestic branch offices in these areas. This 
separate presentation will contain conclusions, supported by facts and 
data, on performance under the performance tests and standards in the 
regulation. The evaluation of a multistate institution that maintains a 
domestic branch in two or more states in a multistate metropolitan area 
will include a written evaluation (containing the same information 
described above) and rating of its CRA record of performance in the 
multistate metropolitan area. In such cases, the statewide evaluation 
and rating will be adjusted to reflect performance in the portion of 
the state not within the multistate metropolitan statistical area.

Q2. How are institutions that operate within only a single state 
assigned a rating?

    A2. An institution that operates within only a single state 
(``single-state institution'') will be assigned a rating of its CRA 
record based on its performance within that state. In assigning this 
rating, the agencies will separately present a single-state 
institution's performance for each metropolitan area in which the 
institution maintains one or more domestic branch offices. This 
separate presentation will contain conclusions, supported by facts and 
data, on the single-state institution's performance under the 
performance tests and standards in the regulation.

Q3. How do the agencies weight performance under the lending, 
investment and service test for large retail institutions?

    A3. A rating of ``outstanding,'' ``high satisfactory,'' ``low 
satisfactory,'' ``needs to improve,'' or ``substantial noncompliance,'' 
based on a judgment supported by facts and data, will be assigned under 
each performance test. Points will then be assigned to each rating as 
described in the first matrix set forth below. A large retail 
institution's overall rating under the lending, investment and service 
tests will then be calculated in accordance with the second matrix set 
forth below, which incorporates the rating principles in the 
regulation.

  Points Assigned for Performance Under Lending, Investment and Service 
                                  Tests                                 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Lending  Service  Investment
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outstanding...............................       12        6          6 
High satisfactory.........................        9        4          4 
Low satisfactory..........................        6        3          3 
Needs to improve..........................        3        1          1 
Substantial noncompliance.................        0        0          0 
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                   Composite Rating Point Requirements                  
                      [Add points from three tests]                     
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Rating                            Total points        
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outstanding...............................  20 or over.                 
Satisfactory..............................  11 through 19.              
Needs to improve..........................  5 through 10.               
Substantial noncompliance.................  0 through 4.                
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: There is one exception to the Composite Rating matrix. An         
  institution may not receive a rating of ``satisfactory'' unless it    
  receives at least ``low satisfactory'' on the lending test. Therefore,
  the total points are capped at three times the lending test score.    


[[Page 54661]]

Section ____.29--Effect of CRA performance on applications

____.29(a) CRA performance

Q1. What weight is given to an institution's CRA performance 
examination in reviewing an application?

    A1. In cases in which CRA performance is a relevant factor, 
information from a CRA performance examination of the institution is a 
particularly important consideration in the applications process 
because it represents a detailed evaluation of the institution's CRA 
performance by its federal supervisory agency. In this light, an 
examination is an important, and often controlling, factor in the 
consideration of an institution's record. In some cases, however, the 
examination may not be recent or a specific issue raised in the 
application process, such as progress in addressing weaknesses noted by 
examiners, progress in implementing commitments previously made to the 
reviewing agency, or a supported allegation from a commenter, is 
relevant to CRA performance under the regulation and was not addressed 
in the examination. In these circumstances, the applicant should 
present sufficient information to supplement its record of performance 
and to respond to the substantive issues raised in the application 
proceeding.

Q2. What consideration is given to an institution's commitments for 
future action in reviewing an application by those agencies that 
consider such commitments?

    A2. Commitments for future action are not viewed as part of the CRA 
record of performance. In general, institutions cannot use commitments 
made in the applications process to overcome a seriously deficient 
record of CRA performance. However, commitments for improvements in an 
institution's performance may be appropriate to address specific 
weaknesses in an otherwise satisfactory record or to address CRA 
performance when a financially troubled institution is being acquired.

____.29(b) Interested parties

Q1. What consideration is given to comments from interested parties in 
reviewing an application?

    A1. Materials relating to CRA performance received during the 
applications process can provide valuable information. Written 
comments, which may express either support for or opposition to the 
application, are made a part of the record in accordance with the 
agencies' procedures, and are carefully considered in making the 
agencies' decision. Comments should be supported by facts about the 
applicant's performance and should be as specific as possible in 
explaining the basis for supporting or opposing the application. These 
comments must be submitted within the time limits provided under the 
agencies' procedures.

Q2. Is an institution required to enter into agreements with private 
parties?

    A2. No. Although communications between an institution and members 
of its community may provide a valuable method for the institution to 
assess how best to address the credit needs of the community, the CRA 
does not require an institution to enter into agreements with private 
parties. These agreements are not monitored or enforced by the 
agencies.

Section ____.41--Assessment area delineation

____.41(a) In general

Q1. How do the agencies evaluate ``assessment areas'' under the revised 
CRA regulations compared to how they evaluated ``local communities'' 
that institutions delineated under the original CRA regulations?

    A1. The revised rule focuses on the distribution and level of an 
institution's lending, investments, and services rather than on how and 
why an institution delineated its ``local community'' or assessment 
area(s) in a particular manner. Therefore, the agencies will not 
evaluate an institution's delineation of its assessment area(s) as a 
separate performance criterion as they did under the original 
regulation. Rather, the agencies will only review whether the 
assessment area delineated by the institution complies with the 
limitations set forth in the regulations at section ____.41(e).

Q2. If an institution elects to have the agencies consider affiliate 
lending, will this decision affect the institution's assessment 
area(s)?

    A2. If an institution elects to have the lending activities of its 
affiliates considered in the evaluation of the institution's lending, 
the geographies in which the affiliate lends do not affect the 
institution's delineation of assessment area(s).

Q3. Can a financial institution identify a specific ethnic group rather 
than a geographic area as its assessment area?

    A3. No, assessment areas must be based on geography.

____.41(c) Geographic area(s) for institutions other than wholesale or 
limited purpose institutions ____.41(c)(1) Generally consist of one or 
more MSAs or one or more contiguous political subdivisions

Q1. Besides cities, towns, and counties, what other units of local 
government are political subdivisions for CRA purposes?

    A1. Townships and Indian reservations are political subdivisions 
for CRA purposes. Institutions should be aware that the boundaries of 
townships and Indian reservations may not be consistent with the 
boundaries of the census tracts or block numbering areas 
(``geographies'') in the area. In these cases, institutions must ensure 
that their assessment area(s) consists only of whole geographies by 
adding any portions of the geographies that lie outside the political 
subdivision to the delineated assessment area(s).

Q2. Are wards, school districts, voting districts, and water districts 
political subdivisions for CRA purposes?

    A2. No. However, an institution that determines that it 
predominantly serves an area that is smaller than a city, town or other 
political subdivision may delineate as its assessment area the larger 
political subdivision and then, in accordance with section ____.41(d), 
adjust the boundaries of the assessment area to include only the 
portion of the political subdivision that it reasonably can be expected 
to serve. The smaller area that the institution delineates must consist 
of entire geographies, may not reflect illegal discrimination, and may 
not arbitrarily exclude low- or moderate-income geographies.

____.41(d) Adjustments to geographic area(s)

Q1. When may an institution adjust the boundaries of an assessment area 
to include only a portion of a political subdivision?

    A1. Institutions must include whole geographies (i.e., census 
tracts or block numbering areas) in their assessment areas and 
generally should include entire political subdivisions. Because census 
tracts and block numbering areas are the common geographic areas used 
consistently nationwide for data collection, the agencies require that 
assessment areas be made up of whole geographies. If including an 
entire political subdivision would create an

[[Page 54662]]

area that is larger than the area the institution can reasonably be 
expected to serve, an institution may, but is not required to, adjust 
the boundaries of its assessment area to include only portions of the 
political subdivision. For example, this adjustment is appropriate if 
the assessment area would otherwise be extremely large, of unusual 
configuration, or divided by significant geographic barriers (such as a 
river, mountain, or major highway system). When adjusting the 
boundaries of their assessment areas, institutions must not arbitrarily 
exclude low- or moderate-income geographies or set boundaries that 
reflect illegal discrimination.

____.41(e) Limitations on delineation of an assessment area

____.41(e)(3) May not arbitrarily exclude low- or moderate-income 
geographies

Q1. How will examiners determine whether an institution has arbitrarily 
excluded low- or moderate-income geographies?

    A1. Examiners will make this determination on a case-by-case basis 
after considering the facts relevant to the institution's assessment 
area delineation. Information that examiners will consider may include:
     Income levels in the institution's assessment area(s) and 
surrounding geographies;
     Locations of branches and deposit-taking ATMs;
     Loan distribution in the institution's assessment area(s) 
and surrounding geographies;
     The institution's size;
     The institution's financial condition; and
     The business strategy, corporate structure and product 
offerings of the institution.

____.41(e)(4) May not extend substantially beyond a CMSA boundary or 
beyond a state boundary unless located in a multistate MSA

Q1. What are the maximum limits on the size of an assessment area?

    A1. An institution shall not delineate an assessment area extending 
substantially across the boundaries of a consolidated metropolitan 
statistical area (CMSA) or the boundaries of an MSA, if the MSA is not 
located in a CMSA. Similarly, an assessment area may not extend 
substantially across state boundaries unless the assessment area is 
located in a multistate MSA. An institution may not delineate a whole 
state as its assessment area unless the entire state is contained 
within a CMSA. These limitations apply to wholesale and limited purpose 
institutions as well as other institutions.
    An institution shall delineate separate assessment areas for the 
areas inside and outside a CMSA (or MSA if the MSA is not located in a 
CMSA) if the area served by the institution's branches outside the CMSA 
(or MSA) extends substantially beyond the CMSA (or MSA) boundary. 
Similarly, the institution shall delineate separate assessment areas 
for the areas inside and outside of a state if the institution's 
branches extend substantially beyond the boundary of one state (unless 
the assessment area is located in a multistate MSA). In addition, the 
institution should also delineate separate assessment areas if it has 
branches in areas within the same state that are widely separate and 
not at all contiguous. For example, an institution that has its main 
office in New York City and a branch in Buffalo, New York, and each 
office serves only the immediate areas around it, should delineate two 
separate assessment areas.

Q2. Can an institution delineate one assessment area that consists of 
an MSA and two large counties that abut the MSA but are not adjacent to 
each other?

    A2. As a general rule, an institution's assessment area should not 
extend substantially beyond the boundary of an MSA if the MSA is not 
located in a CMSA. Therefore, the MSA would be a separate assessment 
area, and because the two abutting counties are not adjacent to each 
other and, in this example, extend substantially beyond the boundary of 
the MSA, the institution would delineate each county as a separate 
assessment area (so, in this example, there would be three assessment 
areas). However, if the MSA and the two counties were in the same CMSA, 
then the institution could delineate only one assessment area including 
them all.

Section ____.42--Data collection, reporting, and disclosure

Q1. When must an institution collect and report data under the CRA 
regulations?

    A1. All institutions except small institutions are subject to data 
collection and reporting requirements. A small institution is a bank or 
thrift that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar 
years, had total assets of less than $250 million and was independent 
or an affiliate of a holding company that, as of December 31 of either 
of the prior two calendar years, had total banking and thrift assets of 
less than $1 billion.
    For example:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Institution's                               
                            asset size in   Data collection required for
           Date              millions of      following calendar year?  
                               dollars                                  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/31/94                             240   No.                          
12/31/95                             260   No.                          
12/31/96                             230   No.                          
12/31/97                             280   No.                          
12/31/98                             260   Yes, beginning 1/01/99.      
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All institutions that are subject to the data collection and 
reporting requirements must report the data for a calendar year by 
March 1 of the subsequent year. In the example, above, the institution 
would report the data collected for calendar year 1999 by March 1, 
2000.
    The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is handling 
the processing of the reports for all of the primary regulators. The 
reports should be submitted in a prescribed electronic format on a 
timely basis. The mailing address for submitting these reports is: 
Attention: CRA Processing, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 
System, 1709 New York Avenue, N.W., 5th Floor Washington, DC 20006

Q2. Should an institution develop its own program for data collection, 
or will the regulators require a certain format?

    A2. An institution may use the free software that is provided by 
the FFIEC to reporting institutions for data collection and reporting 
or develop its own program. Those institutions that develop their own 
programs must follow the precise format for the new CRA data collection 
and reporting rules. This format may be obtained by contacting the CRA 
Assistance Line at (202) 872-7584.

Q3. How should an institution report data on lines of credit?

    A3. Institutions must collect and report data on lines of credit in 
the same way that they provide data on loan originations. Lines of 
credit are considered originated at the time the line is approved or 
increased; and an increase is considered a new origination. Generally, 
the full amount of the credit line is the amount that is considered 
originated. In the case of an increase to an existing line, the amount 
of the increase is the amount that is considered originated and that 
amount should be reported.

Q4. Should renewals of lines of credit be reported?

    A4. No. Similar to loan renewals, renewals of lines of credit are 
not

[[Page 54663]]

considered loan originations and should not be reported.

Q5. When should merging institutions collect data?

    A5. Three scenarios of data collection responsibilities for the 
calendar year of a merger and subsequent data reporting 
responsibilities are described below.
     Two institutions are exempt from CRA collection and 
reporting requirements because of asset size. The institutions merge. 
No data collection is required for the year in which the merger takes 
place, regardless of the resulting asset size. Data collection would 
begin after two consecutive years in which the combined institution had 
year-end assets of at least $250 million or was part of a holding 
company that had year-end banking and thrift assets of at least $1 
billion.
     Institution A, an institution required to collect and 
report the data, and Institution B, an exempt institution, merge. 
Institution A is the surviving institution. For the year of the merger, 
data collection is required for Institution A's transactions. Data 
collection is optional for the transactions of the previously exempt 
institution. For the following year, all transactions of the surviving 
institution must be collected and reported.
     Two institutions that each are required to collect and 
report the data merge. Data collection is required for the entire year 
of the merger and for subsequent years so long as the surviving 
institution is not exempt. The surviving institution may file either a 
consolidated submission or separate submissions for the year of the 
merger but must file a consolidated report for subsequent years.

Q6. Can small institutions get a copy of the data collection software 
even though they are not required to collect or report data?

    A6. Yes. Any institution that is interested in receiving a copy of 
the software may send a written request to: Attn: CRA Processing, Board 
of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1709 New York Ave, NW., 5th 
Floor, Washington, DC 20006. They may also call the CRA Assistance Line 
at (202) 872-7584 or send Internet e-mail to CRAHELP@FRB.GOV.

Q7. If a small institution is designated a wholesale or limited purpose 
institution, must it collect data that it would not otherwise be 
required to collect because it is a small institution?

    A7. No. However, small institutions must be prepared to identify 
those loans, investments and services to be evaluated under the 
community development test.

____.42(a) Loan information required to be collected and maintained

Q1. Must institutions collect and report data on all commercial loans 
under $1 million at origination?

    A1. No. Institutions that are not exempt from data collection and 
reporting are required to collect and report only those commercial 
loans that they capture in the Call Report, Schedule RC-C, Part II, and 
in the TFR, Schedule SB. Small business loans are defined as those 
whose original amounts are $1 million or less and that were reported as 
either ``Loans secured by nonfarm or nonresidential real estate'' or 
``Commercial and Industrial loans'' in Part I of the Call Report or 
TFR.

Q2. For loans defined as small business loans, what information should 
be collected and maintained?

    A2. Institutions that are not exempt from data collection and 
reporting are required to collect and maintain in a standardized, 
machine readable format information on each small business loan 
originated or purchased for each calendar year:
     A unique number or alpha-numeric symbol that can be used 
to identify the relevant loan file;
     The loan amount at origination;
     The loan location; and
     An indicator whether the loan was to a business with gross 
annual revenues of $1 million or less.
    The location of the loan must be maintained by census tract or 
block numbering area. In addition, supplemental information contained 
in the file specifications includes a date associated with the 
origination or purchase and whether a loan was originated or purchased 
by an affiliate. The same requirements apply to small farm loans.

Q3. Will farm loans need to be segregated from business loans?

    A3. Yes.

Q4. Should institutions collect and report data on all agricultural 
loans under $500,000 at origination?

    A4. Institutions are to report those farm loans that they capture 
in the Call Report, Schedule RC-C, Part II and Schedule SB of the TFR. 
Small farm loans are defined as those whose original amounts are 
$500,000 or less and were reported as either ``Loans to finance 
agricultural production and other loans to farmers'' or ``Loans secured 
by farmland'' in Part I of the Call Report and TFR.

Q5. Should institutions collect and report data about small business 
and small farm loans that are refinanced or renewed?

    A5. An institution collects and reports information about 
refinancings but does not collect and report information about 
renewals. A refinancing typically involves the satisfaction of an 
existing obligation that is replaced by a new obligation undertaken by 
the same borrower. When an institution refinances a loan, it is 
considered a new origination and loan data should be collected and 
reported if otherwise required. Consistent with HMDA, however, if under 
the original loan agreement, the institution is unconditionally 
obligated to refinance the loan, or is obligated to refinance the loan 
subject to conditions within the borrower's control, the institution 
would not report these events as originations.
    For purposes of the CRA data collection and reporting requirements, 
an extension of the maturity of an existing loan is a renewal, and is 
not considered a loan origination. Therefore, institutions should not 
collect and report data on loan renewals.

Q6. Does a loan to the ``fishing industry'' come under the definition 
of a small farm loan?

    A6. Yes. Instructions for Part I of the Call Report and Schedule SB 
of the TFR include loans ``made for the purpose of financing fisheries 
and forestries, including loans to commercial fishermen'' as a 
component of the definition for ``Loans to finance agricultural 
production and other loans to farmers.'' Part II of Schedule RC-C of 
the Call Report and Schedule SB of the TFR, which serve as the basis of 
the definition for small business and small farm loans in the revised 
regulation, capture both ``Loans to finance agricultural production and 
other loans to farmers'' and ``Loans secured by farmland.''

Q7. How should an institution report a home equity line of credit, part 
of which is for home improvement purposes, but the predominant part of 
which is for small business purposes?

    A7. The institution has the option of reporting the portion of the 
home equity line that is for home improvement purposes under HMDA. That 
portion of the loan would then be considered when examiners evaluate 
home mortgage lending. If the line meets the

[[Page 54664]]

regulatory definition of a ``community development loan,'' the 
institution should collect and report information on the entire line as 
a community development loan. If the line does not qualify as a 
community development loan, the institution has the option of 
collecting and maintaining (but not reporting) the entire line of 
credit as ``Other Secured Lines/Loans for Purposes of Small Business.''

Q8. When collecting small business and small farm data for CRA 
purposes, may an institution collect and report information about loans 
to small businesses and small farms located outside the United States?

    A8. At an institution's option, it may collect data about small 
business and small farm loans located outside the United States; 
however, it cannot report this data because the CRA data collection 
software will not accept data concerning loan locations outside the 
United States.

Q9. Is an institution that has no small farm or small business loans 
required to report under CRA?

    A9. Each institution subject to data reporting requirements must, 
at a minimum, submit a transmittal sheet, definition of its assessment 
area(s), and a record of its community development loans. If the 
institution does not have community development loans to report, the 
record should be sent with ``0'' in the community development loan 
composite data fields. An institution that has not purchased or 
originated any small business or small farm loans during the reporting 
period would not submit the composite loan records for small business 
or small farm loans.

____.42(a)(2) Loan amount at origination

Q1. When an institution purchases a small business or small farm loan, 
which amount should the institution collect and report--the original 
amount of the loan or the amount at purchase?

    A1. When collecting and reporting information on purchased small 
business and small farm loans, an institution collects and reports the 
amount of the loan at origination, not at the time of purchase. This is 
consistent with the Call Report's and TFR's use of the ``original 
amount of the loan'' to determine whether a loan should be reported as 
a ``loan to a small business'' or a ``loan to a small farm'' and in 
which loan size category a loan should be reported. When assessing the 
volume of small business and small farm loan purchases for purposes of 
evaluating lending test performance under CRA, however, examiners will 
evaluate an institution's activity based on the amounts at purchase.

Q2. How should an institution collect data about multiple loan 
originations to the same business?

    A2. If an institution makes multiple originations to the same 
business, the loans should be collected and reported as separate 
originations rather than combined and reported as they are on the Call 
Report or TFR, which reflect loans outstanding, rather than 
originations. However, if institutions make multiple originations to 
the same business solely to inflate artificially the number or volume 
of loans evaluated for CRA lending performance, the agencies may 
combine these loans for purposes of evaluation under the CRA.

Q3. How should an institution collect data pertaining to credit cards 
issued to small businesses?

    A3. If an institution agrees to issue credit cards to a business' 
employees, all of the credit card lines opened on a particular date for 
that single business should be reported as one small business loan 
origination rather than reporting each individual credit card line, 
assuming the criteria in the ``small business loan'' definition in the 
regulation are met. The credit card program's ``amount at origination'' 
is the sum of all of the employee/business credit cards' credit limits 
opened on a particular date. If subsequently issued credit cards 
increase the small business credit line, the added amount is reported 
as a new origination.

____.42(a)(3) The loan location

Q1. Which location should an institution record if a small business 
loan's proceeds are used in a variety of locations?

    A1. The institution should record the loan location by either the 
location of the business headquarters or the location where the 
greatest portion of the proceeds are applied, as indicated by the 
borrower.

____.42(a)(4) Indicator of gross annual revenue

Q1. When indicating whether a small business borrower had gross annual 
revenues of $1 million or less, upon what revenues should an 
institution rely?

    A1. Generally, an institution should rely on the revenues that it 
considered in making its credit decision. For example, in the case of 
affiliated businesses, such as a parent corporation and its subsidiary, 
if the institution considered the revenues of the entity's parent or a 
subsidiary corporation of the parent as well, then the institution 
would aggregate the revenues of both corporations to determine whether 
the revenues are $1 million or less. Alternatively, if the institution 
considered the revenues of only the entity to which the loan is 
actually extended, the institution should rely solely upon whether 
gross annual revenues are above or below $1 million for that entity. 
However, if the institution considered and relied on revenues or income 
of a cosigner or guarantor that is not an affiliate of the borrower, 
the institution should not adjust the borrower's revenues for reporting 
purposes.

Q2. If an institution that is not exempt from data collection and 
reporting does not request or consider revenue information to make the 
credit decision regarding a small business or small farm loan, must the 
institution collect revenue information in connection with that loan?

    A2. No. In those instances, the institution should enter the code 
indicating ``revenues not known'' on the individual loan portion of the 
data collection software or on an internally developed system. Loans 
for which the institution did not collect revenue information may not 
be included in the loans to businesses and farms with gross annual 
revenues of $1 million or less when reporting this data.

Q3. What gross revenue should an institution use in determining the 
gross annual revenue of a start-up business?

    A3. The institution should use the actual gross annual revenue to 
date (including $0 if the new business has had no revenue to date). 
Although a start-up business will provide the institution with pro 
forma projected revenue figures, these figures may not accurately 
reflect actual gross revenue.

____.42(b) Loan information required to be reported

____.42(b)(1) Small business and small farm loan data

Q1. For small business and small farm loan information that is 
collected and maintained, what data should be reported?

    A1. Each institution that is not exempt from data collection and 
reporting is required to report in machine-readable form annually by 
March 1 the following information, aggregated for each census tract or 
block numbering area in which the institution

[[Page 54665]]

originated or purchased at least one small business or small farm loan 
during the prior year:
     The number and amount of loans originated or purchased 
with original amounts of $100,000 or less;
     The number and amount of loans originated or purchased 
with original amounts of more than $100,000 but less than or equal to 
$250,000;
     The number and amount of loans originated or purchased 
with original amounts of more than $250,000 but not more than $1 
million; and
     To the extent that information is available, the number 
and amount of loans to businesses and farms with gross annual revenues 
of $1 million or less (using the revenues the institution considered in 
making its credit decision).

____.42(b)(2) Community development loan data

Q1. What information about community development loans must 
institutions report?

    A1. Institutions subject to data reporting requirements must report 
the aggregate number and amount of community development loans 
originated and purchased during the prior calendar year.

Q2. If a loan meets the definition of a home mortgage, small business, 
or small farm loan AND qualifies as a community development loan, where 
should it be reported? Can FHA, VA and SBA loans be reported as 
community development loans?

    A2. Except for multifamily affordable housing loans, which may be 
reported by retail institutions both under HMDA as home mortgage loans 
and as community development loans, in order to avoid double counting, 
retail institutions must report loans that meet the definitions of home 
mortgage, small business, or small farm loans only in those respective 
categories even if they also meet the definition of community 
development loans. As a practical matter, this is not a disadvantage 
for retail institutions because any affordable housing mortgage, small 
business, small farm or consumer loan that would otherwise meet the 
definition of a community development loan will be considered elsewhere 
in the lending test. Any of these types of loans that occur outside the 
institution's assessment area can receive favorable consideration under 
the borrower characteristic criteria of the lending test. See Q&A4 
under Sec. ____.22(b)(2) & (3).
    Limited purpose and wholesale institutions also must report loans 
that meet the definitions of home mortgage, small business, or small 
farm loans in those respective categories; however, they must also 
report any loans from those categories that meet the regulatory 
definition of ``community development loans'' as community development 
loans. There is no double counting because wholesale and limited 
purpose institutions are not subject to the lending test and, 
therefore, are not evaluated on their level and distribution of home 
mortgage, small business, small farm and consumer loans.

____.42(b)(3) Home mortgage loans

Q1. Must institutions that are not required to collect home mortgage 
loan data by the HMDA collect home mortgage loan data for purposes of 
the CRA?

    A1. No. If an institution is not required to collect home mortgage 
loan data by the HMDA, the institution need not collect home mortgage 
loan data under the CRA. Examiners will sample these loans to evaluate 
the institution's home mortgage lending. If an institution wants to 
ensure that examiners consider all of its home mortgage loans, the 
institution may collect and maintain data on these loans.

____.42(c) Optional data collection and maintenance

____.42(c)(1) Consumer loans

Q1. What are the data requirements regarding consumer loans?

    A1. There are no data reporting requirements for consumer loans. 
Institutions may, however, opt to collect and maintain data on consumer 
loans. If an institution chooses to collect information on consumer 
loans, it may collect data for one or more of the following categories 
of consumer loans: motor vehicle, credit card, home equity, other 
secured, and other unsecured. If an institution collects data for loans 
in a certain category, it must collect data for all loans originated or 
purchased within that category. The institution must maintain these 
data separately for each category for which it chooses to collect data. 
The data collected and maintained should include for each loan:
     A unique number or alpha-numeric symbol that can be used 
to identify the relevant loan file;
     The loan amount at origination or purchase;
     The loan location; and
     The gross annual income of the borrower that the 
institution considered in making its credit decision.

____.42(c)(1)(iv) Income of borrower

Q1. If an institution does not consider income when making an 
underwriting decision in connection with a consumer loan, must it 
collect income information?

    A1. No. Further, if the institution routinely collects, but does 
not verify, a borrower's income when making a credit decision, it need 
not verify the income for purposes of data maintenance.

Q2. May an institution list ``0'' in the income field on consumer loans 
made to employees when collecting data for CRA purposes as the 
institution would be permitted to do under HMDA?

    A2. Yes.

____.42(c)(2) Other loan data

Q1. Schedule RC-C, Part II of the Call Report and schedule SB of the 
TFR do not allow financial institutions to report loans for commercial 
and industrial purposes that are secured by residential real estate. 
Loans extended to small businesses with gross annual revenues of $1 
million or less may, however, be secured by residential real estate. Is 
there a way to collect this information on the software to supplement 
an institution's small business lending data at the time of 
examination?

    A1. Yes. If these loans promote community development, as defined 
in the regulation, the institution should collect and report 
information about these loans as community development loans. 
Otherwise, at an institution's option, it may collect and maintain data 
concerning loans, purchases, and lines of credit extended to small 
businesses and secured by residential real estate for consideration in 
the CRA evaluation of its small business lending. To facilitate this 
optional data collection, the software distributed free-of-charge by 
the FFIEC provides that an institution may collect this information to 
supplement its small business lending data by choosing loan type, 
``Other Secured Lines/Loans for Purposes of Small Business,'' in the 
individual loan data. (The title of the loan type, ``Other Secured 
Lines of Credit for Purposes of Small Business,'' which was found in 
the instructions accompanying the 1996 data collection software, is 
being changed to ``Other Secured Lines/Loans for Purposes of Small 
Business'' in order to accurately reflect that lines of credit and 
loans may be reported under this loan type.) This information should be 
maintained at the institution but should not be submitted for central 
reporting purposes.

[[Page 54666]]

Q2. Must an institution collect data on loan commitments and letters of 
credit?

    A2. No. Institutions are not required to collect data on loan 
commitments and letters of credit. Institutions may, however, provide 
for examiner consideration information on letters of credit and 
commitments.

Q3. Are commercial and consumer leases considered loans for purposes of 
CRA data collection?

    A3. Commercial and consumer leases are not considered small 
business or small farm loans or consumer loans for purposes of the data 
collection requirements in 12 CFR Sec. ____.42(a) & (c)(1). However, if 
an institution wishes to collect and maintain data about leases, the 
institution may provide this data to examiners as ``other loan data'' 
under 12 CFR Sec. ____.42(c)(2) for consideration under the lending 
test.

____.42(d) Data on affiliate lending

Q1. If an institution elects to have an affiliate's home mortgage 
lending considered in its CRA evaluation, what data must the 
institution make available to examiners?

    A1. If the affiliate is a HMDA reporter, the institution must 
identify those loans reported by its affiliate under 12 CFR part 203 
(Regulation C, implementing HMDA). At its option, the institution may 
either provide examiners with the affiliate's entire HMDA Disclosure 
Statement or just those portions covering the loans in its assessment 
area(s) that it is electing to consider. If the affiliate is not 
required by HMDA to report home mortgage loans, the institution must 
provide sufficient data concerning the affiliate's home mortgage loans 
for the examiners to apply the performance tests.

Section ____.43--Content and availability of public file

____.43(a) Information available to the public

____.43(a)(1) Public comments

Q1. What happens to comments received by the agencies?

    A1. Comments received by a Federal financial supervisory agency 
will be on file at the agency for use by examiners. Those comments are 
also available to the public unless they are exempt from disclosure 
under the Freedom of Information Act.

Q2. Is an institution required to respond to public comments?

    A2. No. All institutions should review comments and complaints 
carefully to determine whether any response or other action is 
warranted. A small institution subject to the small institution 
performance standards is specifically evaluated on its record of taking 
action, if warranted, in response to written complaints about its 
performance in helping to meet the credit needs in its assessment 
area(s) (Sec. ____.26(a)(5)). For all institutions, responding to 
comments may help to foster a dialogue with members of the community or 
to present relevant information to an institution's Federal financial 
supervisory agency. If an institution responds in writing to a letter 
in the public file, the response must also be placed in that file, 
unless the response reflects adversely on any person or placing it in 
the public file violates a law.

Q3. May an institution include a response to its CRA Performance 
Evaluation in its public file?

    A3. Yes. However, the format and content of the evaluation, as 
transmitted by the supervisory agency, may not be altered or abridged 
in any manner. In addition, an institution that received a less than 
satisfactory rating during it most recent examination must include in 
its public file a description of its current efforts to improve its 
performance in helping to meet the credit needs of its entire 
community. The institution must update the description on a quarterly 
basis.

____.43(b) Additional information available to the public

____.43(b)(1) Institutions other than small institutions

Q1. Must an institution that elects to have affiliate lending 
considered include data on this lending in its public file?

    A1. Yes. The lending data to be contained in an institution's 
public file covers the lending of the institution's affiliates, as well 
as of the institution itself, considered in the assessment of the 
institution's CRA performance. An institution that has elected to have 
mortgage loans of an affiliate considered must include either the 
affiliate's HMDA Disclosure Statements for the two prior years or the 
parts of the Disclosure Statements that relate to the institution's 
assessment area(s), at the institution's option.

____.43(c) Location of public information

Q1. What is an institution's ``main office'?

    A1. An institution's main office is the main, home, or principal 
office as designated in its charter.

Section ____.44--Public notice by institutions

Q1. Are there any placement or size requirements for an institution's 
public notice?

    A1. The notice must be placed in the institution's public lobby, 
but the size and placement may vary. The notice should be placed in a 
location and be of a sufficient size that customers can easily see and 
read it.

Section ____.45--Publication of planned examination schedule

Q1. Where will the agencies publish the planned examination schedule 
for the upcoming calendar quarter?

    A1. The agencies may use the Federal Register, a press release, the 
Internet, or other existing agency publications for disseminating the 
list of the institutions scheduled to for CRA examinations during the 
upcoming calendar quarter. Interested parties should contact the 
appropriate Federal financial supervisory agency for information on how 
the agency is publishing the planned examination schedule.

Appendix B to Part ____--CRA Notice

Q1. What agency information should be added to the CRA notice form?

    A1. The following information should be added to the form:
    OCC-supervised institutions only: The address of the deputy 
comptroller of the district in which the institution is located should 
be inserted in the appropriate blank. These addresses can be found at 
12 CFR Sec. 4.5(a).
    OCC-, FDIC-, and Board-supervised institutions: ``Officer in Charge 
of Supervision'' is the title of the responsible official at the 
appropriate Federal Reserve Bank.

Appendix A--Regional Offices of the Bureau of the Census

    To obtain median family income levels of census tracts, MSAs, block 
numbering areas and statewide nonmetropolitan areas, contact the 
appropriate regional office of the Bureau of the Census as indicated 
below. The list shows the states covered by each regional office.

Atlanta

    (404) 730-3833.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia

Boston

    (617) 424-0510.

[[Page 54667]]

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Charlotte

    (704) 344-6144.

District of Columbia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, Virginia

Chicago

    (708) 562-1740.

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Dallas

    (214) 640-4470 or (800) 835-9752.

Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas

Denver

    (303) 969-7750.

Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, 
Utah, Wyoming

Detroit

    (313) 259-1875.

Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia

Kansas City

    (913) 551-6711.

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma

Los Angeles

    (818) 904-6339.

California

New York

    (212) 264-4730.

New York, Puerto Rico

Philadelphia

    (215) 597-8313 or (215) 597-8312.

Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Seattle

    (206) 728-5314.

Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

    End of text of the Interagency Questions and Answers.

    Dated: October 11, 1996.
Joe M. Cleaver,
Executive Secretary, Federal Financial Institutions Examination 
Council.
[FR Doc. 96-26743 Filed 10-18-96; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-33-P, 6210-01-P, 6714-01-P, 6720-01-P
Last Updated 07/17/1999 communications@fdic.gov