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Title 12Chapter IISubchapter APart 228 → Subpart B


Title 12: Banks and Banking
PART 228—COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT (REGULATION BB)


Subpart B—Standards for Assessing Performance


Contents
§228.21   Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in general.
§228.22   Lending test.
§228.23   Investment test.
§228.24   Service test.
§228.25   Community development test for wholesale or limited purpose banks.
§228.26   Small bank performance standards.
§228.27   Strategic plan.
§228.28   Assigned ratings.
§228.29   Effect of CRA performance on applications.

Source: Reg. BB, 60 FR 22191, May 4, 1995, unless otherwise noted.

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§228.21   Performance tests, standards, and ratings, in general.

(a) Performance tests and standards. The Board assesses the CRA performance of a bank in an examination as follows:

(1) Lending, investment, and service tests. The Board applies the lending, investment, and service tests, as provided in §§228.22 through 228.24, in evaluating the performance of a bank, except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(4) of this section.

(2) Community development test for wholesale or limited purpose banks. The Board applies the community development test for a wholesale or limited purpose bank, as provided in §228.25, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(3) Small bank performance standards. The Board applies the small bank performance standards as provided in §228.26 in evaluating the performance of a small bank or a bank that was a small bank during the prior calendar year, unless the bank elects to be assessed as provided in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(4) of this section. The bank may elect to be assessed as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section only if it collects and reports the data required for other banks under §228.42.

(4) Strategic plan. The Board evaluates the performance of a bank under a strategic plan if the bank submits, and the Board approves, a strategic plan as provided in §228.27.

(b) Performance context. The Board applies the tests and standards in paragraph (a) of this section and also considers whether to approve a proposed strategic plan in the context of:

(1) Demographic data on median income levels, distribution of household income, nature of housing stock, housing costs, and other relevant data pertaining to a bank's assessment area(s);

(2) Any information about lending, investment, and service opportunities in the bank's assessment area(s) maintained by the bank or obtained from community organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, economic development agencies, or other sources;

(3) The bank's product offerings and business strategy as determined from data provided by the bank;

(4) Institutional capacity and constraints, including the size and financial condition of the bank, the economic climate (national, regional, and local), safety and soundness limitations, and any other factors that significantly affect the bank's ability to provide lending, investments, or services in its assessment area(s);

(5) The bank's past performance and the performance of similarly situated lenders;

(6) The bank's public file, as described in §228.43, and any written comments about the bank's CRA performance submitted to the bank or the Board; and

(7) Any other information deemed relevant by the Board.

(c) Assigned ratings. The Board assigns to a bank one of the following four ratings pursuant to §228.28 and appendix A of this part: “outstanding”; “satisfactory”; “needs to improve”; or “substantial noncompliance” as provided in 12 U.S.C. 2906(b)(2). The rating assigned by the Board reflects the bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with the safe and sound operation of the bank.

(d) Safe and sound operations. This part and the CRA do not require a bank to make loans or investments or to provide services that are inconsistent with safe and sound operations. To the contrary, the Board anticipates banks can meet the standards of this part with safe and sound loans, investments, and services on which the banks expect to make a profit. Banks are permitted and encouraged to develop and apply flexible underwriting standards for loans that benefit low- or moderate-income geographies or individuals, only if consistent with safe and sound operations.

(e) Low-cost education loans provided to low-income borrowers. In assessing and taking into account the record of a bank under this part, the Board considers, as a factor, low-cost education loans originated by the bank to borrowers, particularly in its assessment area(s), who have an individual income that is less than 50 percent of the area median income. For purposes of this paragraph, “low-cost education loans” means any education loan, as defined in section 140(a)(7) of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1650(a)(7)) (including a loan under a state or local education loan program), originated by the bank for a student at an “institution of higher education,” as that term is generally defined in sections 101 and 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002) and the implementing regulations published by the U.S. Department of Education, with interest rates and fees no greater than those of comparable education loans offered directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Such rates and fees are specified in section 455 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087e).

(f) Activities in cooperation with minority- or women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions. In assessing and taking into account the record of a nonminority-owned and nonwomen-owned bank under this part, the Board considers as a factor capital investment, loan participation, and other ventures undertaken by the bank in cooperation with minority- and women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions. Such activities must help meet the credit needs of local communities in which the minority- and women-owned financial institutions and low-income credit unions are chartered. To be considered, such activities need not also benefit the bank's assessment area(s) or the broader statewide or regional area that includes the bank's assessment area(s).

[Reg. BB, 60 FR 22191, May 4, 1995, as amended at 75 FR 61044, Oct. 4, 2010]

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§228.22   Lending test.

(a) Scope of test. (1) The lending test evaluates a bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) through its lending activities by considering a bank's home mortgage, small business, small farm, and community development lending. If consumer lending constitutes a substantial majority of a bank's business, the Board will evaluate the bank's consumer lending in one or more of the following categories: motor vehicle, credit card, other secured, and other unsecured loans. In addition, at a bank's option, the Board will evaluate one or more categories of consumer lending, if the bank has collected and maintained, as required in §228.42(c)(1), the data for each category that the bank elects to have the Board evaluate.

(2) The Board considers originations and purchases of loans. The Board will also consider any other loan data the bank may choose to provide, including data on loans outstanding, commitments and letters of credit.

(3) A bank may ask the Board to consider loans originated or purchased by consortia in which the bank participates or by third parties in which the bank has invested only if the loans meet the definition of community development loans and only in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. The Board will not consider these loans under any criterion of the lending test except the community development lending criterion.

(b) Performance criteria. The Board evaluates a bank's lending performance pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) Lending activity. The number and amount of the bank's home mortgage, small business, small farm, and consumer loans, if applicable, in the bank's assessment area(s);

(2) Geographic distribution. The geographic distribution of the bank's home mortgage, small business, small farm, and consumer loans, if applicable, based on the loan location, including:

(i) The proportion of the bank's lending in the bank's assessment area(s);

(ii) The dispersion of lending in the bank's assessment area(s); and

(iii) The number and amount of loans in low-, moderate-, middle-, and upper-income geographies in the bank's assessment area(s);

(3) Borrower characteristics. The distribution, particularly in the bank's assessment area(s), of the bank's home mortgage, small business, small farm, and consumer loans, if applicable, based on borrower characteristics, including the number and amount of:

(i) Home mortgage loans to low-, moderate-, middle-, and upper-income individuals;

(ii) Small business and small farm loans to businesses and farms with gross annual revenues of $1 million or less;

(iii) Small business and small farm loans by loan amount at origination; and

(iv) Consumer loans, if applicable, to low-, moderate-, middle-, and upper-income individuals;

(4) Community development lending. The bank's community development lending, including the number and amount of community development loans, and their complexity and innovativeness; and

(5) Innovative or flexible lending practices. The bank's use of innovative or flexible lending practices in a safe and sound manner to address the credit needs of low- or moderate-income individuals or geographies.

(c) Affiliate lending. (1) At a bank's option, the Board will consider loans by an affiliate of the bank, if the bank provides data on the affiliate's loans pursuant to §228.42.

(2) The Board considers affiliate lending subject to the following constraints:

(i) No affiliate may claim a loan origination or loan purchase if another institution claims the same loan origination or purchase; and

(ii) If a bank elects to have the Board consider loans within a particular lending category made by one or more of the bank's affiliates in a particular assessment area, the bank shall elect to have the Board consider, in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section, all the loans within that lending category in that particular assessment area made by all of the bank's affiliates.

(3) The Board does not consider affiliate lending in assessing a bank's performance under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section.

(d) Lending by a consortium or a third party. Community development loans originated or purchased by a consortium in which the bank participates or by a third party in which the bank has invested:

(1) Will be considered, at the bank's option, if the bank reports the data pertaining to these loans under §228.42(b)(2); and

(2) May be allocated among participants or investors, as they choose, for purposes of the lending test, except that no participant or investor:

(i) May claim a loan origination or loan purchase if another participant or investor claims the same loan origination or purchase; or

(ii) May claim loans accounting for more than its percentage share (based on the level of its participation or investment) of the total loans originated by the consortium or third party.

(e) Lending performance rating. The Board rates a bank's lending performance as provided in appendix A of this part.

[Reg. BB, 60 FR 22191, May 4, 1995, as amended at 82 FR 55743, Nov. 24, 2017]

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§228.23   Investment test.

(a) Scope of test. The investment test evaluates a bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) through qualified investments that benefit its assessment area(s) or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the bank's assessment area(s).

(b) Exclusion. Activities considered under the lending or service tests may not be considered under the investment test.

(c) Affiliate investment. At a bank's option, the Board will consider, in its assessment of a bank's investment performance, a qualified investment made by an affiliate of the bank, if the qualified investment is not claimed by any other institution.

(d) Disposition of branch premises. Donating, selling on favorable terms, or making available on a rent-free basis a branch of the bank that is located in a predominantly minority neighborhood to a minority depository institution or women's depository institution (as these terms are defined in 12 U.S.C. 2907(b)) will be considered as a qualified investment.

(e) Performance criteria. The Board evaluates the investment performance of a bank pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The dollar amount of qualified investments;

(2) The innovativeness or complexity of qualified investments;

(3) The responsiveness of qualified investments to credit and community development needs; and

(4) The degree to which the qualified investments are not routinely provided by private investors.

(f) Investment performance rating. The Board rates a bank's investment performance as provided in appendix A of this part.

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§228.24   Service test.

(a) Scope of test. The service test evaluates a bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) by analyzing both the availability and effectiveness of a bank's systems for delivering retail banking services and the extent and innovativeness of its community development services.

(b) Area(s) benefitted. Community development services must benefit a bank's assessment area(s) or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the bank's assessment area(s).

(c) Affiliate service. At a bank's option, the Board will consider, in its assessment of a bank's service performance, a community development service provided by an affiliate of the bank, if the community development service is not claimed by any other institution.

(d) Performance criteria—retail banking services. The Board evaluates the availability and effectiveness of a bank's systems for delivering retail banking services, pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The current distribution of the bank's branches among low-,

moderate-, middle-, and upper-income geographies;

(2) In the context of its current distribution of the bank's branches, the bank's record of opening and closing branches, particularly branches located in low- or moderate-income geographies or primarily serving low- or moderate-income individuals;

(3) The availability and effectiveness of alternative systems for delivering retail banking services (e.g., ATMs, ATMs not owned or operated by or exclusively for the bank, banking by telephone or computer, loan production offices, and bank-at-work or bank-by-mail programs) in low- and moderate-income geographies and to low- and moderate-income individuals; and

(4) The range of services provided in low-, moderate-, middle-, and upper-income geographies and the degree to which the services are tailored to meet the needs of those geographies.

(e) Performance criteria—community development services. The Board evaluates community development services pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The extent to which the bank provides community development services; and

(2) The innovativeness and responsiveness of community development services.

(f) Service performance rating. The Board rates a bank's service performance as provided in appendix A of this part.

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§228.25   Community development test for wholesale or limited purpose banks.

(a) Scope of test. The Board assesses a wholesale or limited purpose bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) under the community development test through its community development lending, qualified investments, or community development services.

(b) Designation as a wholesale or limited purpose bank. In order to receive a designation as a wholesale or limited purpose bank, a bank shall file a request, in writing, with the Board, at least three months prior to the proposed effective date of the designation. If the Board approves the designation, it remains in effect until the bank requests revocation of the designation or until one year after the Board notifies the bank that the Board has revoked the designation on its own initiative.

(c) Performance criteria. The Board evaluates the community development performance of a wholesale or limited purpose bank pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The number and amount of community development loans (including originations and purchases of loans and other community development loan data provided by the bank, such as data on loans outstanding, commitments, and letters of credit), qualified investments, or community development services;

(2) The use of innovative or complex qualified investments, community development loans, or community development services and the extent to which the investments are not routinely provided by private investors; and

(3) The bank's responsiveness to credit and community development needs.

(d) Indirect activities. At a bank's option, the Board will consider in its community development performance assessment:

(1) Qualified investments or community development services provided by an affiliate of the bank, if the investments or services are not claimed by any other institution; and

(2) Community development lending by affiliates, consortia and third parties, subject to the requirements and limitations in §228.22(c) and (d).

(e) Benefit to assessment area(s)—(1) Benefit inside assessment area(s). The Board considers all qualified investments, community development loans, and community development services that benefit areas within the bank's assessment area(s) or a broader statewide or regional area that includes the bank's assessment area(s).

(2) Benefit outside assessment area(s). The Board considers the qualified investments, community development loans, and community development services that benefit areas outside the bank's assessment area(s), if the bank has adequately addressed the needs of its assessment area(s).

(f) Community development performance rating. The Board rates a bank's community development performance as provided in appendix A of this part.

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§228.26   Small bank performance standards.

(a) Performance criteria—(1) Small banks that are not intermediate small banks. The Board evaluates the record of a small bank that is not, or that was not during the prior calendar year, an intermediate small bank, of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) pursuant to the criteria set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) Intermediate small banks. The Board evaluates the record of a small bank that is, or that was during the prior calendar year, an intermediate small bank, of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) pursuant to the criteria set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(b) Lending test. A small bank's lending performance is evaluated pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The bank's loan-to-deposit ratio, adjusted for seasonal variation, and, as appropriate, other lending-related activities, such as loan originations for sale to the secondary markets, community development loans, or qualified investments;

(2) The percentage of loans and, as appropriate, other lending-related activities located in the bank's assessment area(s);

(3) The bank's record of lending to and, as appropriate, engaging in other lending-related activities for borrowers of different income levels and businesses and farms of different sizes;

(4) The geographic distribution of the bank's loans; and

(5) The bank's record of taking action, if warranted, in response to written complaints about its performance in helping to meet credit needs in its assessment area(s).

(c) Community development test. An intermediate small bank's community development performance also is evaluated pursuant to the following criteria:

(1) The number and amount of community development loans;

(2) The number and amount of qualified investments;

(3) The extent to which the bank provides community development services; and

(4) The bank's responsiveness through such activities to community development lending, investment, and services needs.

(d) Small bank performance rating. The Board rates the performance of a bank evaluated under this section as provided in appendix A of this part.

[70 FR 44268, Aug. 2, 2005, as amended at 71 FR 78337, Dec. 29, 2006; 72 FR 72573, Dec. 21, 2007]

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§228.27   Strategic plan.

(a) Alternative election. The Board will assess a bank's record of helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) under a strategic plan if:

(1) The bank has submitted the plan to the Board as provided for in this section;

(2) The Board has approved the plan;

(3) The plan is in effect; and

(4) The bank has been operating under an approved plan for at least one year.

(b) Data reporting. The Board's approval of a plan does not affect the bank's obligation, if any, to report data as required by §228.42.

(c) Plans in general—(1) Term. A plan may have a term of no more than five years, and any multi-year plan must include annual interim measurable goals under which the Board will evaluate the bank's performance.

(2) Multiple assessment areas. A bank with more than one assessment area may prepare a single plan for all of its assessment areas or one or more plans for one or more of its assessment areas.

(3) Treatment of affiliates. Affiliated institutions may prepare a joint plan if the plan provides measurable goals for each institution. Activities may be allocated among institutions at the institutions' option, provided that the same activities are not considered for more than one institution.

(d) Public participation in plan development. Before submitting a plan to the Board for approval, a bank shall:

(1) Informally seek suggestions from members of the public in its assessment area(s) covered by the plan while developing the plan;

(2) Once the bank has developed a plan, formally solicit public comment on the plan for at least 30 days by publishing notice in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each assessment area covered by the plan; and

(3) During the period of formal public comment, make copies of the plan available for review by the public at no cost at all offices of the bank in any assessment area covered by the plan and provide copies of the plan upon request for a reasonable fee to cover copying and mailing, if applicable.

(e) Submission of plan. The bank shall submit its plan to the Board at least three months prior to the proposed effective date of the plan. The bank shall also submit with its plan a description of its informal efforts to seek suggestions from members of the public, any written public comment received, and, if the plan was revised in light of the comment received, the initial plan as released for public comment.

(f) Plan content—(1) Measurable goals. (i) A bank shall specify in its plan measurable goals for helping to meet the credit needs of each assessment area covered by the plan, particularly the needs of low- and moderate-income geographies and low- and moderate-income individuals, through lending, investment, and services, as appropriate.

(ii) A bank shall address in its plan all three performance categories and, unless the bank has been designated as a wholesale or limited purpose bank, shall emphasize lending and lending-related activities. Nevertheless, a different emphasis, including a focus on one or more performance categories, may be appropriate if responsive to the characteristics and credit needs of its assessment area(s), considering public comment and the bank's capacity and constraints, product offerings, and business strategy.

(2) Confidential information. A bank may submit additional information to the Board on a confidential basis, but the goals stated in the plan must be sufficiently specific to enable the public and the Board to judge the merits of the plan.

(3) Satisfactory and outstanding goals. A bank shall specify in its plan measurable goals that constitute “satisfactory” performance. A plan may specify measurable goals that constitute “outstanding” performance. If a bank submits, and the Board approves, both “satisfactory” and “outstanding” performance goals, the Board will consider the bank eligible for an “outstanding” performance rating.

(4) Election if satisfactory goals not substantially met. A bank may elect in its plan that, if the bank fails to meet substantially its plan goals for a satisfactory rating, the Board will evaluate the bank's performance under the lending, investment, and service tests, the community development test, or the small bank performance standards, as appropriate.

(g) Plan approval—(1) Timing. The Board will act upon a plan within 60 calendar days after the Board receives the complete plan and other material required under paragraph (e) of this section. If the Board fails to act within this time period, the plan shall be deemed approved unless the Board extends the review period for good cause.

(2) Public participation. In evaluating the plan's goals, the Board considers the public's involvement in formulating the plan, written public comment on the plan, and any response by the bank to public comment on the plan.

(3) Criteria for evaluating plan. The Board evaluates a plan's measurable goals using the following criteria, as appropriate:

(i) The extent and breadth of lending or lending-related activities, including, as appropriate, the distribution of loans among different geographies, businesses and farms of different sizes, and individuals of different income levels, the extent of community development lending, and the use of innovative or flexible lending practices to address credit needs;

(ii) The amount and innovativeness, complexity, and responsiveness of the bank's qualified investments; and

(iii) The availability and effectiveness of the bank's systems for delivering retail banking services and the extent and innovativeness of the bank's community development services.

(h) Plan amendment. During the term of a plan, a bank may request the Board to approve an amendment to the plan on grounds that there has been a material change in circumstances. The bank shall develop an amendment to a previously approved plan in accordance with the public participation requirements of paragraph (d) of this section.

(i) Plan assessment. The Board approves the goals and assesses performance under a plan as provided for in appendix A of this part.

[Reg. BB, 60 FR 22193, May 4, 1995, as amended at 60 FR 66050, Dec. 20, 1995; 69 FR 41187, July 8, 2004]

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§228.28   Assigned ratings.

(a) Ratings in general. Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the Board assigns to a bank a rating of “outstanding,” “satisfactory,” “needs to improve,” or “substantial noncompliance” based on the bank's performance under the lending, investment and service tests, the community development test, the small bank performance standards, or an approved strategic plan, as applicable.

(b) Lending, investment, and service tests. The Board assigns a rating for a bank assessed under the lending, investment, and service tests in accordance with the following principles:

(1) A bank that receives an “outstanding” rating on the lending test receives an assigned rating of at least “satisfactory”;

(2) A bank that receives an “outstanding” rating on both the service test and the investment test and a rating of at least “high satisfactory” on the lending test receives an assigned rating of “outstanding”; and

(3) No bank may receive an assigned rating of “satisfactory” or higher unless it receives a rating of at least “low satisfactory” on the lending test.

(c) Effect of evidence of discriminatory or other illegal credit practices. (1) The Board's evaluation of a bank's CRA performance is adversely affected by evidence of discriminatory or other illegal credit practices in any geography by the bank or in any assessment area by any affiliate whose loans have been considered as part of the bank's lending performance. In connection with any type of lending activity described in §228.22(a), evidence of discriminatory or other credit practices that violate an applicable law, rule, or regulation includes, but is not limited to:

(i) Discrimination against applicants on a prohibited basis in violation, for example, of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act or the Fair Housing Act;

(ii) Violations of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act;

(iii) Violations of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act;

(iv) Violations of section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; and

(v) Violations of the Truth in Lending Act provisions regarding a consumer's right of rescission.

(2) In determining the effect of evidence of practices described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section on the bank's assigned rating, the Board considers the nature, extent, and strength of the evidence of the practices; the policies and procedures that the bank (or affiliate, as applicable) has in place to prevent the practices; any corrective action that the bank (or affiliate, as applicable) has taken or has committed to take, including voluntary corrective action resulting from self-assessment; and any other relevant information.

[43 FR 47148, Oct. 12, 1978, as amended at 70 FR 44268, Aug. 2, 2005]

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§228.29   Effect of CRA performance on applications.

(a) CRA performance. Among other factors, the Board takes into account the record of performance under the CRA of:

(1) Each applicant bank for the:

(i) Establishment of a domestic branch by a State member bank; and

(ii) Merger, consolidation, acquisition of assets, or assumption of liabilities requiring approval under the Bank Merger Act (12 U.S.C. 1828(c)) if the acquiring, assuming, or resulting bank is to be a State member bank; and

(2) Each insured depository institution (as defined in 12 U.S.C. 1813) controlled by an applicant and subsidiary bank or savings association proposed to be controlled by an applicant:

(i) To become a bank holding company in a transaction that requires approval under section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1842);

(ii) To acquire ownership or control of shares or all or substantially all of the assets of a bank, to cause a bank to become a subsidiary of a bank holding company, or to merge or consolidate a bank holding company with any other bank holding company in a transaction that requires approval under section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1842);

(iii) To own, control or operate a savings association in a transaction that requires approval under section 4 of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1843);

(iv) To become a savings and loan holding company in a transaction that requires approval under section 10 of the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1467a); and

(v) To acquire ownership or control of shares or all or substantially all of the assets of a savings association, to cause a savings association to become a subsidiary of a savings and loan holding company, or to merge or consolidate a savings and loan holding company with any other savings and loan holding company in a transaction that requires approval under section 10 of the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1467a).

(b) Interested parties. In considering CRA performance in an application described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Board takes into account any views expressed by interested parties that are submitted in accordance with the Board's Rules of Procedure set forth in part 262 of this chapter.

(c) Denial or conditional approval of application. A bank or savings association's record of performance may be the basis for denying or conditioning approval of an application listed in paragraph (a) of this section.

(d) Definitions. For purposes of paragraphs (a)(2)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section, “bank,” “bank holding company,” “subsidiary,” and “savings association” have the meanings given to those terms in section 2 of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1841). For purposes of paragraphs (a)(2)(iv) and (v) of this section, “savings and loan holding company” and “subsidiary” has the meaning given to that term in section 10 of the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1467a).

[ Reg. BB, 60 FR 22191, May 4, 1995, as amended at 76 FR 56532, Sept. 13, 2011]

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