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Financial Institutions Eligible to Receive CRA Consideration for Hurricane Maria Disaster-Recovery Investments

By Liz Lopez

January 30, 2018


Last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued an interagency statement regarding investments, loans, and services in disaster areas affected by Hurricane Maria.

The Agencies expanded the scope for disaster-recovery activities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Financial institutions that are located outside of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are now eligible to receive favorable consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations for disaster-recovery investments, loans, and services they make to revitalize or stabilize these communities. Such investments may also include assistance to individuals who were displaced by Hurricane Maria, including evacuees relocated to other states. The Agencies issued a similar statement in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina.

CRA has been an important tool to incentivize financial institutions to invest in the communities they serve and to partner with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), community development credit unions, minority-and-women owned financial institutions, and New Market Tax Credit Community Development Entities (NMTC CDEs).

Financial institutions have the tools, partnerships, and incentives to make a significant contribution in the economic recovery efforts of communities impacted by Hurricane Maria. For example, they can make investments to help retain businesses that employ local residents; build essential communitywide infrastructure; and offer housing, financial assistance, and services to individuals in the disaster recovery areas and/or those have been displaced.

Four months after Hurricane Maria, 450,000 Puerto Ricans remain without power; damages are estimated to be more than $85 billion; and over 300,000 residents have moved to Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. 

Liz Lopez

Liz has more than a decade of experience as an advisor and counsel to financial services institutions, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies. She has leveraged her experience in the public and private sectors to create innovative multi-faceted campaigns, develop bipartisan congressional relationships, and implement corporate social responsibility initiatives. Liz graduated from the University of Chicago and Boston College Law School. She has been featured as a contributor and commentator on community development, economic, and policy issues. You can follow her on Twitter @lizlopezinDC.


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On behalf of our Board, staff, and the communities we serve, we wish you felices fiestas and a very happy new year filled with joy and happiness! We are honored to have had your support and partnership this year as we worked to empower the Latino and other economically marginalized communities in the region. 


While we are thankful for the opportunities we were given this past year, our communities faced and continue to face many challenges. We are hopeful that our communities will rise up to reverse attacks on: Dreamers; the lawful economic contributions of our Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Honduran neighbors; US territories populated by American citizens and communities of color; and tax regulations that protect everyday American citizens and families.


We are also inspired to have merged with Empowered Women International-EWI this year to provide intensive and woman-tailored business training to female entrepreneurs. There has never been a more poignant time for lifting up women's voices and leadership than now.


This coming year LEDC is committed to an even greater engagement in protecting and advancing the communities we serve.


We encourage you to do the same.


Please be sure to connect with us on  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to get an inside look at our work and the latest economic information for our region. You can find us by searching for "ledcmetro." 


We hope this holiday season and new year are full of paz y amor for you and yours. 






Best wishes,



Marla Bilonick

Executive Director

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