On March 23, 2021, in a historic victory for low-income and communities of color in Illinois, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (IL CRA) into law. With the passage of this legislation, Illinois joins Massachusetts to become the second state with an oversight system to ensure that residents are equitably served by all three main segments of the mortgage lending market: banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies.

This legislation creates a critical opportunity to address inequities that have long persisted, including unequal access to home mortgage loans, particularly for people of color and low-income communities. Woodstock Institute, Housing Action Illinois, and many other advocates owe a big thank you to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus for making this bill an important part of the Economic Equity Pillar of their legislative agenda.

Now that the Illinois CRA is state law, we look forward to working with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and other stakeholders to make sure this law is implemented through strong but fair rules.

Illinois CRA in the News

Woodstock Institute is committed to protecting and strengthening the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) so it fulfills its initial purpose: to keep banks accountable to local community needs.

Spurred by Chicago activists, including Gale Cincotta and Woodstock Institute, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977 as an antidote to discriminatory policies blocking non-white neighborhoods from bank loans, a practice known as “redlining.”

The CRA creates an affirmative responsibility for financial institutions to intentionally invest in low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas. CRA provides vital streams of funding via home mortgages, loans to small businesses and grants to local nonprofit organizations. It is our best tool to ensure that banks are adequately serving all people in their footprint.

The three federal banking regulators are discussing ways to modernize the CRA. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors held a comment period for proposed changes to the CRA in early 2021, and we hope to see the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) join the conversation so that all three regulators can forge a path forward towards a strong CRA that holds banks accountable to local communities. We are committed to keeping you informed and advocating for CRA rules that support our vision of a more just economy that serves all communities equitably.


Last year, the Trump administration’s OCC proposed regulations that would have weakened the CRA and hurt communities. The OCC received thousands of letters opposing these harmful changes, and with the new Biden administration, the Trump administration proposal will likely never go into effect. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors was also paying attention to the advocates’ response to the OCC, and their recent proposal was a step in the right direction – toward a stronger CRA.  Thank you to everyone who submitted comment letters last year.