Senate Democrats demand OCC's Otting testify on CRA

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WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are demanding that Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting testify before the panel after the regulator unveiled plans Thursday to overhaul the decades-old Community Reinvestment Act.

All of the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee signed a letter to Otting Friday requesting his appearance before the panel, after he was unable to attend a regulator oversight hearing last week.

“Revisions to the regulation for this foundational Civil Rights law will have a significant impact on low-income communities, communities of color, rural areas, affordable housing development, community development, and other underserved communities and activities across the banking system,” the senators wrote. “We respectfully request your timely appearance before the Committee to discuss this important proposal and its impact in detail.”

The lawmakers said Otting’s appearance would also be an opportunity to discuss “prudential matters” that they could not ask him about last week when he did not join Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles and National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood at a hearing before the panel.

The letter comes after the plan to overhaul the CRA was unveiled at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board meeting Thursday. The OCC and FDIC issued the proposal without the Federal Reserve.

In a rare move, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., led a group of Democrats to attend the FDIC board meeting. Members of the party have raised concerns that regulators will weaken the law intended to combat redlining.

Waters indicated at a House hearing last week that she would also call Otting to testify before her committee.

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CRA Regulatory reform Joseph Otting Sherrod Brown Maxine Waters Senate Banking Committee OCC