Regulators extend CRA comment period, bowing to congressional pressure

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WASHINGTON — Regulators have extended the amount of time the public has to respond to a proposal to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act, a sudden victory for Democratic lawmakers and community groups.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced a 30-day extension, pushing the deadline back to April 8.

“The FDIC and OCC have now determined that a 30-day extension of the comment period is appropriate,” regulators said in a joint press release Wednesday, less than a month before the old deadline was set to close.

Just after the CRA proposal was released in December, community groups, Democratic lawmakers and small banks had called on regulators to extend the 60-day comment period, citing the document’s significant complexity and the intense public interest in reforming CRA.

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting had rejected appeals to extend the comment period but his agency along with the FDIC said they will allow groups more time.
Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting had rejected appeals to extend the comment period but his agency along with the FDIC said they will allow groups more time.

Democratic lawmakers, led by House Financial Services Chairman Maxine Waters, pressed the OCC and FDIC to extend the comment period.

But Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting later rejected those appeals. He argued the proposal’s delayed publication in the Federal Register until after the winter holidays resulted effectively in an 85-day comment period.

"I think it's plenty of time," Otting said in January. "We're happy to sit down with anybody that wants to come in if they don't understand parts of the proposal."

Those comments had fueled some speculation that regulators were racing to beat the clock that could have subjected a final CRA rule to a review by lawmakers after the 2020 election under the Congressional Review Act.

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