|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Tuesday, May 4, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, issued the following statement on the Community Reinvestment Act as the Senate began consideration of
S. 900, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999:
"The real issues in this debate are integrity, relevance and accountability.
"If CRA exams have any integrity, a bank that receives three satisfactory exams in a row should have a presumption of innocence when someone challenges the bank's right to open a new branch or merge with another bank. That's why this legislation simply asks challengers to provide proof that a bank isn't in compliance.
"CRA exams should also be relevant. The small, rural banks affected by this legislation hold only 2.7 percent of all bank assets in the United States. And since 1990, only three have been found in substantial noncompliance with CRA. By exempting these small banks from CRA, examiners can focus on the banks in big cities.
"CRA has enabled special interest groups to collect billions of dollars from banks under agreements that are kept secret. Even the citizens that these groups purport to represent have no way of knowing how the groups spend the money they get from banks. That's why I hope the Senate will approve a sunshine amendment that will add accountability to this process and bring these agreements into the light of day."