CNN | Monday, February 12, 2024

"The nation's economy is doing remarkably well. Inflation is coming down, unemployment remains low and growth is robust. One glaring exception, however, is housing.

According to the National Association of Realtors, it is more difficult for first-time buyers to purchase a home than at any time in two generations, short-circuiting the path to homeownership for millions, bogging down the housing market and hampering the nation's economic growth."

Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, February 6, 2024

"JPMorgan aims to put 70% of the U.S. population within a 10-minute drive of a branch. At Bank of America, the goal is 80% of the population within a 15-minute drive.

That also means the banks have to learn new ways to capture customers at various income levels. Federal law requires banks to do business in low-income areas, and both JPMorgan and Bank of America say they are committed to having 30% of branches in those tracts."

American Bankers Association | Monday, February 5, 2024

The American Bankers Association (ABA), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and local Texas trade associations filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC for "exceeding their statutory authority and acting arbitrarily and capriciously with their recent amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act rules. The lawsuit asks the court to vacate the Final Rules, and the groups will also seek a preliminary injunction pausing the new rules while the court decides the merits of the case."

Related, CDBA recently hosted a webinar, "Why is the New CRA Good for CDFI Banks?" This is because the new rule – for the first time – explicitly recognizes CDFI banks in important and positive ways:

· CDFI banks now have expanded opportunities for attracting outside deposits and investments, as well as leveraging lending and service partnership from other banks seeking CRA credit.
· CDFI banks can attract support from other banks regardless of geography – not just those in Assessment Areas.
· Banks seeking CRA credit will be motivated to partner with CDFI banks.
· CDFI banks can even get credit for engaging in partnerships with each other.

Members are encouraged to reach out to Sarah Wen to access the webinar recording.

Governor Josh Shapiro | Monday, February 5, 2024

"Today, Governor Josh Shapiro is delivering on a major budget priority, opening the application window for small diverse businesses across the Commonwealth to apply for a total of $10.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be awarded to historically disadvantaged businesses that were in operation on or before March 17, 2020, and were impacted economically by COVID-19. All applications submitted between February 5 and February 23, 2024, will be considered for funding."

House Ways and Means | Wednesday, January 31, 2024

On January 31st, the House passed a bipartisan tax bill that includes the first major expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credits since 2000. The bill also includes a modest expansion of the child tax credit, as well as business tax credits.

The Senate Finance Committee will consider the bill next - CDBA is working with colleagues in national CDFI and banking trades to promote the inclusion of the Warner/Wicker CDFI Investment Tax Credit in a Senate version of the broader bill.

CFPB | Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The CFPB has proposed a rule that would prohibit NSF fees in certain circumstances:

"When a consumer's attempted withdrawal, debit, payment, or transfer transaction amount exceeds the available funds in their account, currently, a financial institution might decline the transaction and charge the consumer a fee, often called a nonsufficient funds (NSF) fee.

The proposed rule would prohibit NSF fees on transactions that are declined instantaneously or near-instantaneously—that is, those declined with no significant perceptible delay after the consumer initiates the transaction. This prohibition would cover transactions involving the use of debit cards, ATMs, or certain person-to-person apps. The proposed rule would declare that charging such fees would constitute an abusive practice under the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

The proposed rule, borrowing the term "covered financial institutions" as defined by Regulation E, would cover financial institutions of any size and depositories as well as non-depositories."

Banking with Interest | Tuesday, January 23, 2024

"John Pitts, head of policy for Plaid, argues a new CFPB open-data proposal could transform the financial services industry. He says bankers, many of whom are skeptical of the plan, could see significant opportunities, including a greater ability to attract new customers."

Associated Press | Wednesday, January 17, 2024

"The cost to overdraw a bank account could drop to as little as $3 under a proposal announced by the White House, the latest effort by the Biden administration to combat fees it says pose an unnecessary burden on American consumers, particularly those living paycheck to paycheck.

The proposed change by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would potentially eliminate billions of dollars in fee revenue for the nation's biggest banks, which were gearing up for a battle even before Wednesday's announcement. Exactly how much revenue depends on which version of the new regulation is adopted."

Punchbowl News | Tuesday, January 16, 2024

"House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a roughly $78 billion framework for a package of tax benefits aimed at businesses and low-income families, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The two sides expect to roll it out this morning.

The question now is whether Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) can build enough support to get their deal through both chambers. It's iffy. More on that below.
First, the details. Here's [some of] what's expected to be in the proposal, according to the source.

Businesses: The agreement would bring back full, upfront deductions for domestic research and development costs along with bigger deductions for businesses' interest expenses and purchases of machinery and equipment — all through 2025. It's also expected to increase immediate deductions that smaller businesses can take for buying equipment and machinery, and raise the threshold to $1,000 for sending tax forms for payments to certain non-employees.

Child tax credit: The deal would gradually raise the maximum child tax credit to $2,000 for families who owe less than that in taxes. It would also allow low-income families with multiple children to phase in eligibility for more benefits faster, and let families use the previous year's income to qualify for benefits in 2024 and 2025. In a broader change, the child tax credit's maximum benefit would be tied to inflation, with a potential increase from $2,000 to $2,100 likely in 2025.

Housing: The low-income housing tax credit — which incentivizes developers to build affordable rental units — gets a boost in the deal, restoring a higher credit allocation to states and lowering the bond-financing threshold."

U.S. Department of the Treasury | Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Graham Steele, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions

"Over the past few years, the field of community finance has been transformed both by the historic scale of federal investments and policies focused on supporting equitable economic growth. During the Biden-Harris Administration, the Treasury Department has focused on unlocking the economic potential of financially underserved communities across the country. Secretary Yellen has outlined an economic strategy called 'modern supply-side economics,' which calls for, among other actions, boosting economic productivity by addressing inequality and making investments in people, places, and infrastructure that have been constrained by a lack of resources and opportunity.

Treasury's community finance programs have played an important role in this overarching strategy, and we are seeing results in financially underserved communities across the country, from increases in lending in the most economically disadvantaged areas to new clean-energy investments in low-income communities. In December 2022, I provided an overview of Treasury's approach to community finance policy. I am now pleased to provide an update on how Treasury's community finance related efforts are supporting underserved communities throughout the country..."