Press Statement

Financial Regulators Move to Weaken the Community Reinvestment Act Could Upend Economic Progress for Communities of Color

Landmark Law Protects Communities of Color from Discriminatory Lending Practices

December 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, DCAccording to reports, financial regulators are moving to significantly weaken the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a historic civil rights legislation designed to curb discriminatory lending practices against communities of color and low- and moderate-income households.

According to UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the changes could undermine the ability of communities of color to access loans and thus hurt their upward mobility.

“The Community Reinvestment Act is one of the most successful civil rights laws in history. Not only has the CRA corrected years of lending discrimination against communities of color, it has been central to the economic strides that Latinos have made in wealth-building, in homeownership and in upward mobility,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “It is astonishing but not surprising that this administration is again moving to upend a law that works just to continue undermining the well-being of communities of color in this country,” she said.

The Community Reinvestment Act is a historic piece of legislation enacted in 1977 to stop banks from “redlining”—the practice of refusing to extend credit for a mortgage, credit card or small business on the basis of a person’s ZIP code.

According to a UnidosUS fact sheet, in 2017 alone, the law contributed $1.7 trillion in lending to these economically distressed areas, increased credit activity by 9 percent, and reduced the number of people with no credit scores or incomplete credit scores by 7 percent. These increases in lending have made homeownership—a critical part of wealth-building—attainable for millions of people, especially in communities of color and in the Latino community. Since 2014, the CRA has facilitated between 15 percent to as much as 35 percent of home loans to Latinos in low- to moderate-income areas. For more information, please refer to UnidosUS’s fact sheet.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact:
Gabriela Gomez
news@unidosus.org
(202) 776-1732