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Eighty-three New York-based organizations and public officials are urging the state banking department to scrap new regulations they believe will gut state laws requiring banks to increase lending in low-income neighborhoods.

On Oct. 14, opponents to the new regulations drafted a letter to state banking superintendent Elizabeth McCaul asking her to reconsider the measures. The signers include four congressmembers and the NYC Reinvestment Task Force.

Last month, City Limits reported the state is proposing to allow banks to get credit under the state’s community reinvestment statute for loans to people whose average income is between $37,840 and $56,760. Under current law, the state considers only loans to low- and moderate-income people or in low-income neighborhoods in evaluating a bank’s CRA record.

Advocates also asked the department to hold a public hearing on the proposed changes. Comments on the plan will be accepted until Oct. 28–and no hearings have been scheduled. “It would be scandalous if they demonstrate that they’re just a self-certifying wing of the banking industry,” said Sarah Ludwig of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. “They’re just refusing to hold a hearing.”

Banking department spokesman Michael F. Barry said the state has received the letter, but is not planning to hold a public hearing.

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