President Clinton on Friday blasted critics of the Community Reinvestment Act.

Speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the President said banks have made nearly $1 trillion of CRA pledges since 1993 while earning record profits.

"I bet the town banker is doing pretty well where you live - in a big city or a small town," the President said. "And yet, unbelievably enough, when we are proving it is working, the Community Reinvestment Act is under attack again."

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm, R-Tex., and several Republican members of the House Banking Committee have questioned the appropriateness of the CRA and have called for it to be repealed or significantly scaled back.

The President urged Republicans and Democrats to unite behind the reinvestment requirement. "This ought not to be a political deal," he said. "Every American has an interest in seeing that every economic opportunity in every community is seized."

Mayors and other local leaders must step forward and defend the law, the President said. "The Community Reinvestment Act is a good thing," he said. "I hope you will help us protect it and support it."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.