Broadband as part of the Community Reinvestment Act

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is intended to encourage banks and other depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. Last summer the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas published a report (Closing the Digital Divide: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations) that helps financial instructions understand how broadband fit into the CRA.

craThe report’s goals are:

PART ONE: An understanding of how broadband is now an integral part of community development and meets the “primary purpose” definition of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

PART TWO: A road map of best practices for closing the digital divide.

PART THREE: A selection of references and examples to help identify opportunities to close the digital divide in their communities.

PART FOUR: A list of tips for preparing their case for digital opportunity investments and CRA reference guides to help ensure planned CRA activities meet regulatory requirements.

PART FIVE: A template to make their case, which highlights the types of lending, service and investments that are valuable to their institution and target communities.

PART SIX: Appendixes of broadband resources for understanding the needs and opportunities in their assessment areas.

Obviously it focused on the needs of the financial institution – offering advice on what a community needs and how to explain those needs and the role of the financial institution is meeting those needs but the information appeals to a wider audience. It includes an index of “experts in closing the digital divide”, an explanation of the “three legs of the digital divide stool” (access, computer and training) and the impact of broadband on the community.

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About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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