Regulators have published the latest catalog of places outside metropolitan areas where lending will earn banks credit toward their Community Reinvestment Act obligations.
The list, released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, encompasses "distressed or underserved" areas in 45 states and Puerto Rico.
The designations reflect unemployment, poverty, income levels and migration patterns that determine local economic conditions, according to regulators. The list includes areas in every state except Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Those East Coast jurisdictions lack non-urban tracts that meet the criteria for being designated as eligible for reinvestment.
Regulators do not publish a similar list of low- and moderate-income tracts within cities. Thats because those areas are readily identifiable for purposes of CRA lending, unlike geographically large but economically diverse areas outside cities, according to federal rules. The 1977 law obligates depository institutions to meet the credit needs of communities in which they operate.