Journalists and fair lending : LUSENET : Fair Lending : One Thread

To start things off, I'm curious what you (journalists, academics, activists, others) think of the state of news reporting on fair lending issues. Are there great stories being missed? What could make the coverage more thorough?

-- Bill Dedman (, November 28, 1997


Bill- I appreciate your very thorough page and the fact that you've taken the time to set up this forum.

It seems to me that there has not yet been much reporting that has focused on the effects "financial modernization" will have on reinvestment. Secretary Rubin pledged at the beginning of last year that the Clinton Administration would not accept a financial modernization bill that "weakened CRA," yet by the end of the year, Treasury still seemed to be pushing for the passage of H.R. 10 in spite of the fact that it's effect on Community Reinvestment had grown quite problematical.

If CRA or a CRA-like law is not extended to the affiliates of Bank Holding companies and to the operating subsidiaries of national banks in a financial modernization package, the relevance of CRA will, it seems to me, rapidly diminish in the future. We already have the serious problem of banks referring customers to their subprime affiliates.

All the fair lending issues that this raises are currently being ducked by the regulators because affiliates are only examined for CRA purposes "at the bank's request" according to the new Reg Y and Part V that the Federal Reserve and the OCC promulgated. The OCC's Steve Cross wrote a letter to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in July which really illustrates that the OCC's much-vaunted "CRA coverage for operating subsidiaries" is really a hollow promise.

If I had one request to make of journalists interested in fair lending issues, it would be that you probe Treasury, the OCC and the other regulators about how they expect to regulate fair lending issues with the legislative and regulatory changes occuring in banking.

Hubert Van Tol, Bank Watchers

-- Hubert Van Tol (, November 28, 1997.

Bill -

I agree with Hubert on the bank modernization issue. Unfortunately, some of the most important issues in this field are feared for making readers go catatonic. I think it is a challenge, but I think journalists need to make modernization and other complext topics real to readers and bring them down to earth.

Also, I have been surprised by how little coverage the new small business data has gotten. Small business is the fallow field for CRA.

Finally, I am constantly amazed at the lack of basic mathematical reasoning skills possessed by the journalists who cover our stuff and who I talk to. There are certainly some good reporters out there on this stuff, but overall the analytical skills are a bit weak. Hence, many just swallo whole banking and federal reserve responses and reports.

Thanks for the great web site.

-- Dan Immergluck, Woodstock Institute (, December 04, 1997.

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