12 CFR § 195.21 - Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in general.

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§ 195.21 Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in general.

(a)Performance tests and standards. The appropriate Federal banking agency assesses the CRA performance of a savings association in an examination as follows:

(1)Lending, investment, and service tests. The appropriate Federal banking agency applies the lending, investment, and service tests, as provided in §§ 195.22 through 195.24, in evaluating the performance of a savings association, except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(4) of this section.

(2)Community development test for wholesale or limited purpose savings associations. The appropriate Federal banking agency applies the community development test for a wholesale or limited purpose savings association, as provided in § 195.25, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(3)Small savings association performance standards. The appropriate Federal banking agency applies the small savings association performance standards as provided in § 195.26 in evaluating the performance of a small savings association or a savings association that was a small savings association during the prior calendar year, unless the savings association elects to be assessed as provided in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(4) of this section. The savings association may elect to be assessed as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section only if it collects and reports the data required for other savings associations under § 195.42.

(4)Strategic plan. The appropriate Federal banking agency evaluates the performance of a savings association under a strategic plan if the savings association submits, and the appropriate Federal banking agency approves, a strategic plan as provided in § 195.27.

(b)Performance context. The appropriate Federal banking agency applies the tests and standards in paragraph (a) of this section and also considers whether to approve a proposed strategic plan in the context of:

(1) Demographic data on median income levels, distribution of household income, nature of housing stock, housing costs, and other relevant data pertaining to a savings association's assessment area(s);

(2) Any information about lending, investment, and service opportunities in the savings association's assessment area(s) maintained by the savings association or obtained from community organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, economic development agencies, or other sources;

(3) The savings association's product offerings and business strategy as determined from data provided by the savings association;

(4) Institutional capacity and constraints, including the size and financial condition of the savings association, the economic climate (national, regional, and local), safety and soundness limitations, and any other factors that significantly affect the savings association's ability to provide lending, investments, or services in its assessment area(s);

(5) The savings association's past performance and the performance of similarly situated lenders;

(6) The savings association's public file, as described in § 195.43, and any written comments about the savings association's CRA performance submitted to the savings association or the appropriate Federal banking agency; and

(7) Any other information deemed relevant by the appropriate Federal banking agency.

(c)Assigned ratings. The appropriate Federal banking agency assigns to a savings association one of the following four ratings pursuant to § 195.28 and appendix A of this part: “outstanding”; “satisfactory”; “needs to improve”; or “substantial noncompliance,” as provided in 12 U.S.C. 2906(b)(2). The rating assigned by the appropriate Federal banking agency reflects the savings association's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with the safe and sound operation of the savings association.

(d)Safe and sound operations. This part and the CRA do not require a savings association to make loans or investments or to provide services that are inconsistent with safe and sound operations. To the contrary, the appropriate Federal banking agency anticipates savings associations can meet the standards of this part with safe and sound loans, investments, and services on which the savings associations expect to make a profit. Savings associations are permitted and encouraged to develop and apply flexible underwriting standards for loans that benefit low- or moderate-income geographies or individuals, only if consistent with safe and sound operations.

(e)Low-cost education loans provided to low-income borrowers. In assessing and taking into account the record of a savings association under this part, the appropriate Federal banking agency considers, as a factor, low-cost education loans originated by the savings association to borrowers, particularly in its assessment area(s), who have an individual income that is less than 50 percent of the area median income. For purposes of this paragraph, “low-cost education loans” means any education loan, as defined in section 140(a)(7) of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1650(a)(7)) (including a loan under a state or local education loan program), originated by the savings association for a student at an “institution of higher education,” as that term is generally defined in sections 101 and 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002) and the implementing regulations published by the U.S. Department of Education, with interest rates and fees no greater than those of comparable education loans offered directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Such rates and fees are specified in section 455 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087e).

(f)Activities in cooperation with minority- or women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions. In assessing and taking into account the record of a nonminority-owned and nonwomen-owned savings association under this part, the appropriate Federal banking agency considers as a factor capital investment, loan participation, and other ventures undertaken by the savings association in cooperation with minority- and women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions. Such activities must help meet the credit needs of local communities in which the minority- and women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions are chartered. To be considered, such activities need not also benefit the savings association's assessment area(s) or the broader statewide or regional area that includes the savings association's assessment area(s).