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As CFPB Whitewashed Mortgage Data It Proposes Business Lending Timeline in ND CAL

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
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Bronx / SDNY, Feb 27 –  With US Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting moving along with the FDIC to undermine the  Community Reinvestment Act, in February 2020 Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch filed a CRA protest with the OCC to the application by Community Bank NA to buy Steuben Trust, here.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger issued 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data - with an interface without any racial or ethnic information unlike 2017 and every previous year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page and the December 16 filing with FDIC, cc-ed to the CFPB, below.
  Now while still withholding race and ethnic information from HMDA data available for view on its website, the CFPB has been forced into a settlement about business lending data: "a settlement agreement filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will agree to concrete court-ordered deadlines for implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the agency to collect and disclose data on discriminatory lending to America’s small businesses. After unlawfully delaying this requirement for years, the CFPB must also submit status reports updating the public on its progress. Today marks a milestone victory for addressing the credit barriers small business owners face across the country — particularly women and entrepreneurs of color.  The settlement agreement was reached in response to a lawsuit... According to the agreement, the CFPB will:  By September 2020, outline its proposals for collecting the required data and publicly release those proposals for consideration of their effect on small businesses; By October 2020, establish a Small Business Advocacy Review panel to provide input on its proposal. CFPB will take panelist suggestions from the small business plaintiff groups; Negotiate deadlines with the plaintiffs for each stage of the rulemaking process to facilitate the data collection, including the deadline to issue the final data collection rule, and accept Court-ordered deadlines if the parties cannot agree; and Submit status reports every 90 days detailing the CFPB’s progress toward implementing this data collection rule. The joint settlement agreement was submitted to the Court on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The agreement is subject to final Court approval." Inner City Press will follow this. CRC and many other NCRC members remain on the case.

 To the FDIC and CFPB:

December 16, 2019  Via e-mail

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Attn: John Vogel, Regional Director and Doreen R. Eberley, Jim Watkins, Robert P. Cordeiro, Scott D. Strockoz 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1200 New York, NY 10118-0110  

Re: Timely First Comment on Applications by Flushing Bank to Acquire Empire National Bank 

Dear Regional Director Vogel and others at the FDIC:  

This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the FDIC's public comment period on the Applications by Flushing Bank to Acquire Empire National Bank.   

Flushing Bank in 2018, for race specified loans, made six times more loans to whites than to African Americans, entirely out of keeping with the demographics of its market.   

Compare the demographics of its lending to the geography: 68 loans to Queens, 35 in Manhattan, 27 in The Bronx, 35 in Manhattan, five on Staten Island and 24 in Westchester County.    

Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch would like to and has a right to submit more detailed HMDA data. But for the record, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 2018 data has unilaterally removed the ability of the public to view HMDA data by race on its website, which the FFIEC / Federal Reserve allowed in previous years and the CFBP did even in 2017.

Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch contends that the CFPB's move is both anti-public and illegal.    

For further context, last week the FDIC opted in a party line vote to go with the OCC of ex-banker Otting which is trying to further weaken the CRA, and has already in rogue-like fashion barred the public from comment on charter conversion and even merger applications like that involving Chinatown FSB earlier this year.   

In this context, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is demanding an extension of this comment period by the FDIC, its intervention with the CFPB to restore access on the website itself to 2018 HMDA data, a reversal of the FDIC's anti-CRA moves, and on the current record the denial by the FDIC of these application(s).  Thank you for your prompt attention, 
Matthew R. Lee
Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch

cc's incl Brenda.Muniz [at]

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