DEFINITION of 'Community Reinvestment Act - CRA'

An act of Congress enacted in 1977 with the intention of encouraging depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of surrounding communities (particularly low and moderate income neighborhoods). The CRA requires federal regulators to assess the record of each bank or thrift in helping to fulfill its obligations to the community. This record will then be used in evaluating applications for future approval of bank mergers, charters, acquisitions, branch openings and deposit facilities.

BREAKING DOWN 'Community Reinvestment Act - CRA'

Because the percentage of "CRA loans" that a mortgage lender originates or purchases in the secondary market is important, CRA loans tend to trade at a premium price in the secondary market. Generic packages of loans are frequently searched by traders looking to find overlooked individual CRA loans within the package which can be extracted and sold for a premium, independent of the entire package .

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