In this report, we assess today’s heated HFSC hearing with Comptroller Otting on the OCC and FDIC CRA proposal (see FSM Report CRA25). As expected, Democrats blasted the proposal, with Rep. Scott (D-GA) comparing Mr. Otting to a dictator for refusing to extend the comment period. While Republicans defended the NPR, Reps. Posey (R-FL), Williams (R-TX) and Kustoff (R-TN) also pressed Mr. Otting to say that the CRA prevents banks from refusing to serve controversial businesses (e.g., the gun and fossil-fuel industries). Reflecting pending Senate legislation (see FSM Report SOCIALIMPACT), the Comptroller said that banks should not refuse to serve entire industries although they are free to decide whether to serve individual firms. Indicating that the OCC is working on guidance in this area, he also said that the CRA requires banks to serve the entire community in which they are domiciled.
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