Changes to CRA expand opportunities for nonprofits responding to COVID-19

By Brian Rakovitis, manager of financial empowerment initiatives

On March 19, 2020, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a joint statement on CRA consideration for activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint statement details changes to financial institutions when working with customers, expands the allowable community development activities, and provides an effective time frame for these changes. 

These new guidelines encourage financial institutions to be more responsive to the pandemic and the recovery, and your organization may be providing services or activities that could qualify for grant funding from banks. 

From the statement:

“Qualifying activities include those that help to revitalize or stabilize low- or moderate-income geographies as well as distressed or underserved non metropolitan middle-income geographies, and that support community services targeted to low- or moderate-income individuals. Such activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Loans, investments or services that support digital access for low- and moderate-income individuals or communities;
  • Loans, investments or services that support access to health care, particularly for low- and moderate-income individuals or communities;
  • Economic development activities that sustain small business operations, particularly in low- and moderate-income communities; and
  • Investment or service activities that support provision of food supplies and services for low- and moderate-income individuals or communities.”

These new guidelines are effective from March 19, 2020, until six months after the U.S. national emergency declaration is lifted. Many banks have made additional funding available to support communities. You can find out more by reaching out to financial institutions’ CRA officers or branch managers.