3 R.I. banks score highly in efforts
to serve low-income communities

PROVIDENCE – The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced performance evaluations of 32 national banks’ efforts to honor the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act, including three doing business in Rhode Island.

Of the 32 evaluations made public for the month of May, 28 are rated satisfactory and four are rated outstanding.

Two of the four outstanding ratings went to Webster Bank, National Association, based in Waterbury, Conn.; and TD Bank USA, N. A., based in Wilmington, Del. Additionally, Santander Bank N.A., of Wilmington, Del., received a satisfactory grade.

The possible ratings are outstanding, satisfactory, needs to improve, and substantial noncompliance.

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The CRA provides a framework for financial institutions, governments and community organizations to promote banking services to all members of a community. The act prohibits redlining (denying or increasing the cost of banking in racially defined neighborhoods), and encourages efforts to meet the credit needs of all community members, including residents of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Factors cited in Webster Bank’s outstanding rating included: lending levels with excellent responsiveness to credit needs in the assessment areas; good geographical penetration of home mortgage and small-business loans; good penetration among home mortgage loan customers of different income levels and businesses of different sizes; availability of several flexible loan products; an excellent level of community-development investments and grants; accessible delivery systems to people of different income levels; and a good level of community-development services.

TD Bank was rated outstanding because of its high level of community-development lending, community-development services and qualified investment activity; use of innovative or complex qualified investments, community-development loans or community-development services; and excellent responsiveness to credit and community-development needs in its assessment area.

Santander Bank was rated high satisfactory in lending, investment and service tests. Factors cited in the overall satisfactory rating included good lending activity and responsiveness to credit needs in the assessment area; excellent geographic distribution of lending; good distribution of lending by borrower income; a positive level of community-development lending; a good level of community-development investments; accessible delivery systems; and a good level of community-development services.

The evaluations are not an assessment of the financial condition of the institutions.

The list contains only national banks, federal savings associations and insured federal branches of foreign banks.

Mary Lhowe is a PBN contributing writer.