WASHINGTON The Treasury Department has concluded that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act will not discourage community reinvestment by banks, as some critics had predicted.
A Treasury report written by Clinton administration officials but not released until Tuesday said early indications are that the financial reform laws Community Reinvestment Act sunshine disclosures will not significantly deter lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers and might improve it.
The sunshine rule may raise compliance costs, the report said, but the deterrent effect of higher costs may be offset by a banks need to maintain satisfactory CRA ratings to engage in broader investment and insurance activities. Indeed, the report said that many financial company executives had said in interviews they are pursuing outstanding CRA ratings to insure they may exercise new powers.
This report, the second CRA-related report required by Gramm-Leach-Bliley, mentioned that all findings were tentative because not enough time has passed to collect conclusive data. The report was based on interviews with 11 institutions including eight of the largest bank and thrift holding companies.