• The CRA Turns 40
  • Volume 19, Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Data, Accountability, and the Public: Using Community Reinvestment Act Data for Local Community Development

Marijoan Bull
Westfield State University


Community development corporations (CDCs) are place-based, resident-led organizations committed to revitalizing neighborhoods and expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) shares a placebased focus, as it was intended to hold banks accountable for their activities in all parts of their service areas—including the low- and moderate-income neighborhoods where CDCs operate. This article discusses the disconnect between the mandated CRA process and the type of information on banking activity that would be useful for local organizations working on community revitalization. It presents a case study from the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts, detailing a partnership between a university and a CDC, focused on federal CRA performance in the low- and moderate-income area the CDC serves. Students reviewed performance evaluations of seven banks and, working with the CDC, prepared an examination of the findings. Conclusions of the research include the inadequacy of CRA performance evaluations and data for local CDCs and the lack of a documented deep analysis of community needs. Actions that regulators, banks, and CDCs can take to improve the CRA process are discussed.


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