In a letter to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) which has oversight on such mergers Woodstock Institute asked the OCC to approve the merger “on the condition” that U.S. Bank “commits to increasing mortgage lending to Black and Latino borrowers. Woodstock Institute is a Chicago-based organization that deals with community issues such as the CRA and has been in existence since 1973.

“The CRA is a great tool for holding banks accountable to the communities where they do business,” said Katie Buitrago, senior policy and communications associate with Woodstock Institute. “CRA use it or lose it!” said Ms. Buitrago in an interview with The Final Call.

The CRA was passed by Congress and signed into law by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter as a way to end “redlining”, the practice of marking a red line on a map marking areas where banks would not invest. “In the heyday of redlining, Black inner city neighborhoods were the prominent target of redlining,” according to Bill Dedman in his 1988 book “The Color of Money”.

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