WASHINGTON -- The controversial reform of the Community Reinvestment Act will be revised and released for another round of public comment. The new CRA proposal will be unveiled in four to six weeks, according to Stephen M. Cross, the Comptroller of the Currency's deputy for compliance management. In a speech in Dallas Tuesday, Mr. Cross said the market share test - the provision criticized most by bankers - would be broadened. The original proposal focused on comparing a bank's market penetration in well-to-do areas versus low-income neighborhoods. Under the new plan, Mr. Cross said examiners would rely on a variety of factors, including the income level of individual borrowers, the size of a small business, the amount of community development lending, and the extent to which a bank uses flexible underwriting standards to increase lending to low-income and moderate-income people. "Where appropriate, examiners would include market share calculations in their analysis to provide a context in which to evaluate the bank's CRA performance;' he said. "However the market share calculation alone would not determine the bank's rating under the lending test or its composite rating." Mr. Cross also said the small bank assessment option will be retained but without the 60% loan-to-deposit ratio. Community bankers vigorously fought the 60% test, complaining that it would make it impossible for many banks to take advantage of new, streamlined CRA' exams.
Data collection also will be simplified in the new plan.