WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan vigorously defended the Community Reinvestment Act Wednesday, telling an audience in Columbia, Md., that it did not contribute to the subprime crisis or the financial meltdown.

"CRA supports banks doing what they do best and what they should want to do well — making viable lending and investment decisions, with acceptable rates of return, consistent with their business plans, in their own communities," Mr. Dugan said at the Enterprise Annual Network Conference.

He cited a recent study by the Federal Reserve Board that found just 6% of subprime loans to low-income borrowers were made or bought by CRA lenders or affiliates.

Mr. Dugan said his agency is giving national banks CRA credit for donating foreclosed properties or selling them at a discounted price.

The agency has hired a community affairs officer, Vonda Eanes, to work with nonprofits and public community development offices. Ms. Eanes was a CRA compliance manager at SunTrust Banks.

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.