Industry Letters

Guidance for CRA Credit for Activities in Downtown Manhattan

November 7, 2001

To the Institution Addressed:

The New York State Banking Department (the "Banking Department") is committed to supporting the efforts of supervised institutions to take part in the rebuilding of New York City's downtown following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. While the impact on major corporations formerly located in the towers is well known, financial and technical assistance efforts must also take account of the devastating impact that these events are having on the hundreds of small businesses in the area and their employees. Damage to physical plant, inventory and the local market for goods and services raises critical challenges for the small business owner.

Part 76 of the General Regulations of the Banking Board, the regulation that implements New York's Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA"), considers banks' performance in meeting the credit needs of their communities. The Department seeks to facilitate institutions' role in the rebuilding effort by favorably considering their response to individuals and businesses impacted by these events. Accordingly, banks can receive CRA credit for loans, investments and/or services to such individuals and businesses that help in the reconstruction of this area or provide assistance to people displaced by the September 11th attacks.

Banking institutions that provide help to individuals and businesses south of Canal Street and west of Broadway that have been hurt by the attacks that occurred on September 11th, can receive CRA credit, as set forth below.

  • In defining a "small business loan", Part 76 of the General Regulations of the Banking Board references the definition contained in Regulation BB of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (12 CFR Part 228), issued on April 24, 1995. Referring to the Consolidated Report of Condition and Income, or what is commonly referred to as the "Call Report", this definition is based on the size of the loan. The Banking Department shall deem the area south of Canal Street and west of Broadway to be the equivalent of a low and moderate-income area for purposes of favorable CRA consideration. Accordingly, banking institutions may receive CRA credit for small business loans made in this area. Banks should keep a separate list of small business loans made in this area and provide this list to the Banking Department for special consideration.
  • Included in the Part 76 definition of community development are "activities that promote economic development". The Banking Department intends to broadly recognize as "community development" any loan, investment (including grants) and service that helps retain or create employment opportunities or aids in reconstruction and/or stabilization in the area south of Canal and west of Broadway. Efforts that are innovative, complex or particularly responsive to community needs will receive special consideration.

Finally, institutions are also reminded of the broad financial repercussions likely to be felt by those employed by businesses in the area, small and large alike. The Banking Department encourages banks to participate in and support efforts to assist these families, and will give enhanced CRA consideration to those initiatives that specifically target low and moderate-income families and individuals that have been financially hurt by the September 11th attacks either through direct initiatives by the bank or by working through a not-for-profit organization.

Financial institutions seeking additional guidance on the above are urged to contact Gail Bernstein-Gold, Director of the Community Affairs Unit, at 212-618-6477, Edward Kramer, Deputy Superintendent at 212-618-6634 or Barbara Kent, Director of Consumer Services and Financial Products at 212-618-6928.

Very truly yours,

Elizabeth McCaul
Superintendent of Banks