The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed in 1977 to stop discriminatory credit practices against low income groups and minorities. It requires banks to invest in affordable housing, community services, and small businesses in low to moderate income communities.
In recent years, the US Department of the Treasury Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has broadened CRA to include energy efficiency projects in such communities.
When banks invest in energy efficiency projects that serve low-income communities, everybody wins.
- These projects often lead to a spike in green construction jobs, which raises the standard of living for everyone in the community;
- Greener and more energy efficient schools means lower utility bills, more money to channel toward teachers or computers, and healthier learning environments;
- More efficient HVAC units improve indoor air quality, reduce noise, and lead to better health and quality of life;
- Residential properties that invest in technologies that reduce energy costs – such as LED lighting – help ease the financial burden on their residents.
What you can do:
Weigh in. Occasionally, the OCC writes clarifying documents, called Interagency Q&A’s. These documents further define what counts as a CRA investment, taking input from community members and interested parties.
We encourage you to comment on an upcoming Q&A to help ensure that more dollars are directed toward energy efficiency projects in communities in need.
Sign up to receive alerts on when the next Interagency Q&A will be open for comments.
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