Will CRA revamp stimulate lending in down-and-out neighborhoods?

American Banker
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could serve as a catalyst for banks to become more active in financing projects inside Opportunity Zones, according to some development experts. Opportunity Zones provide tax incentives to investors in development projects located low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Under proposed changes to the 42-year-old Community Reinvestment Act, any type of lending conducted in a low- or moderate-income census tract located within an in Opportunity Zones would qualify for CRA credit. Jeannine Jacokes, the CEO of the Community Development Bankers Association, said her biggest concern is that banks will focus only on projects that promise the highest and fastest return on investment. "This will encourage banks to do things in Opportunity Zones, but it will exacerbate the concerns about gentrification," she said.