Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
Does Giving CRA Credit for Loan Purchases Increase Mortgage Credit in Low-to-Moderate Income Communities?
Under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) banks can fulfill their affirmative obligation to meet local credit needs by lending in low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities or by purchasing loans made by others. This paper evaluates whether giving CRA credit for purchases has had its intended effect of increasing LMI credit availability by making LMI loans more liquid. Analyses using a regression discontinuity design show that CRA increases loan purchases without affecting LMI originations. Instead, banks purchase loans that are temporarily diverted from the Government Sponsored Enterprises, which provides little benefit to the communities the CRA is meant to help.
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