How We Teach the CRA

Upon request and in agreed-upon geographic areas in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, the Minneapolis Fed offers a suite of programs, conducted in partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), to help expand the level of lending and investing to underserved communities. Although these programs are often, but not always, undertaken in sequence, we also offer discrete components, as requested. Programs include:

  • CRA Listening Sessions, to uncover challenges and accomplishments in a community’s efforts to gain access to credit;
  • CRA for CBOs, a training workshop in the fundamentals of the CRA for community-based organizations, government agencies, and foundations;
  • CRA 101, a training workshop in the fundamentals of the CRA for lenders;
  • CRA brainstorming discussions with community-based organizations, government agencies, and foundations; and
  • Community Development Forums with community development organizations, banks, government agencies, foundations, businesses, and others. These forums provide an opportunity to develop strategies and form partnerships to advance community development projects, increase lending and investing in a community, and assist banks in meeting their CRA obligations.
  • Sustained multisector partnerships.

CRA Training Modules

This series of training modules developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the FDIC, and the OCC provides a comprehensive introduction to the CRA. The modules are intended to help community-based organizations understand the context and workings of the CRA and build community-oriented partnerships with financial institutions. 

Module 1
History and Context [pdf]
Includes a brief history of housing segregation and discrimination in the U.S., a discussion of the grassroots origins of the CRA, an overview of major changes to the act over time, and CRA myths and realities.

Module 2
CRA Basics [pdf]
Covers CRA fundamentals and definitions, such as what’s required of financial institutions under the act and how CRA assessment areas are delineated.

Module 3
CRA—Defining Community Development [pdf]
Discusses the definition of community development that’s specific to the CRA, and the loans, investments, and services that qualify as community development activities under the act.

Module 4
CRA Performance Context [pdf]
Discusses the mix of economic and other factors that influence each financial institution’s lending, investment, and service activities.

Module 5
The Exam Process [pdf]
Explores the types of CRA exams that are done based on a bank’s size, the criteria that are applied to each exam type, and the ratings that bank regulators arrive at and assign to a bank.

Module 6
Bank CRA Information: Accessibility to the Public [pdf]
Describes what’s in the public notice and public file of a financial institution, including the institution’s CRA performance evaluation.

Module 7
Developing Bank-CBO Partnerships [pdf]
Includes questions for community-based organizations to consider when developing a CRA strategy.

For questions or comments about our CRA training programs or these modules, contact:

Sandy Gerber
Community Development Senior Project Manager
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
(612) 204-5166

sandra.gerber@mpls.frb.org