Rumor Has It

Rumors spread like wildfire. If you need proof, ask any compliance professional about the new CRA rule’s public file posting requirements and when it goes into effect. If you asked three people, you might get three different answers. We want to make sure our members know better, so we’ve decided to set the record straight.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the new CRA final rule. It includes a provision regarding the location of a bank’s public file. The rule addresses both banks that do have a website and banks that do not have a website. If a bank has a website, it must maintain its public file on its website. This applies to banks of all sizes. See:

“(c) Location of public information. A bank must make available to the public for inspection, upon request and at no cost, the information required in this section as follows:

  • For banks that maintain a website, all information required for the bank’s public file under this section must be maintained on the bank’s website.”

The final rule will be effective on April 1, 2024. Many of the rule’s provisions will not become applicable until January 1, 2026, but the requirement to post the public file to the bank’s website is not one of the delayed provisions. It will be applicable come April 1, 2024. This is not an early April Fool’s Day joke. It has not been delayed.

There is a belief that the public file website requirement has been indefinitely delayed. This stems, in part, from an amendment to the final rule indefinitely delaying one section. That section is related to the implementation of the small business lending rule (also referred to as “1071”). This amendment was to add a paragraph that would have required a statement in the public CRA file on the availability of small business lending data on the CFPB’s website. There are some locations in the final rule that mention or cite 1071, and while these 1071 issues are being litigated, these references are on hold. This does not delay the implementation of the public file posting requirement.

There is also some confusion relating to the rule appendices. The new version of the public notice is in Appendix F, which contains some minor changes from the current version. Technically, the public notice requirements are effective on April 1, 2024, but Appendix F is not. These are separate parts of the final rule. The agencies did publish an Interagency Webinar a few weeks ago that seemed to say that banks can either post the new version from Appendix F or continue using the old version (in Appendix G) until January 1, 2026. But on April 1 of this year, the website posting requirement goes into effect.

Some people are even saying things like the agencies are posting inconsistent versions of the rule. Trust us, we even checked; it’s all there. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but come April, if your bank has a website, you need your public file posted. We also discussed this with member in our February 2024 Huddle if you’re interested in taking a listen here.