The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is making easier for banks to get Community Reinvestment Act credit for investments in public-welfare projects.

The agency on Tuesday instituted a single test to determine whether banks' community development investments are eligible for CRA benefits, replacing a list of criteria.

Under the new rule, national banks will be required to prove only that the investment primarily benefits low- and moderate-income areas, or areas that have been targeted for redevelopment by local, state, tribal, or federal governments.

Banks no longer will have to prove that the investment addresses community development needs in its market.

"The revised regulation facilitates and encourages innovative investments to benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and areas," Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig said Tuesday during a visit to an inner-city neighborhood in Detroit.

The changes will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected by the end of next week.

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