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News Release 2007-80 | August 1, 2007

OCC Chief of Staff Addresses Minority-Owned Financial Institutions

MIAMI — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Chief of Staff John G. Walsh today spoke to executives of minority-owned financial institutions on clarifying Community Reinvestment Act credit and his Agency's effort to enhance minority bank supervision.

Mr. Walsh reaffirmed the OCC's commitment to "preserving a robust and healthy minority-owned banking sector" before nearly 150 attendees of the Interagency Minority Depository Institutions National Conference sponsored by the federal financial regulators in Miami. One key to achieving that goal involves clarifying CRA credit to encourage majority-owned banks' cooperation with minority-owned depository institutions to help meet the credit and banking needs of local communities.

"I am pleased to say that the proposed interagency Qs and As interpretive guidance clarifies that a partnering majority bank will receive positive CRA consideration for such activities even if the minority depository institution is not in the majority institution's CRA assessment area," Mr. Walsh said. This exception to the general CRA standard of evaluating a bank's performance in its assessment area provides minority banks greater opportunity to work with a wider variety of majority banks.

Mr. Walsh also provided the group with a summary of progress to date on the OCC's year-long review of its supervision and outreach to minority-owned banks. The effort began with a survey of OCC's Assistant Deputy Comptrollers and Portfolio Managers who supervise minority institutions and will be expanded in its next phase to "gather information directly from our minority-owned national banks regarding how we can make our education, outreach, and technical assistance efforts more useful and effective," he said.

While the analysis is far from complete, Mr. Walsh reports that it confirms the Agency's experience that "no two minority-owned institutions are exactly alike" and that "OCC's fundamental approach of developing a customized supervisory strategy for every national bank is especially critical for minority-owned banks."

The complete text of the speech is available.

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