Fourteen Percent of Banks in Massachusetts Get Top CRA Grade in 2019

January 27, 2020 - Of the 77 Community Reinvestment Act ratings awarded to Massachusetts banks during 2019, eleven (14.3%) were “Outstanding", according to a report issued today by the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA). For federal regulators, the "Outstanding" share was 18.6% (8 of 43 ratings); for the state regulators, the "Outstanding" share was 8.8% (3 of 34).

The report was prepared for MAHA by Jim Campen, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a long-time member of MAHA's Board of Directors.

MAHA's twenty-ninth annual report lists the CRA ratings assessed to all Massachusetts banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies and evaluates the performance of the three federal regulators and the Massachusetts Division of Banks in reviewing bank performance in meeting community needs. The report comes in the midst of a 60 day comment period on a proposed regulation by the OCC and FDIC that would weaken the federal CRA.

Only five of the state’s ten biggest banks were rated “Outstanding” in their most recent CRA exams: State Street (#1), Bank of America (#2), Citizens (#3), TD Bank (#5), and Eastern (#7).  Until five years ago, it was routine for all ten of the biggest banks to have ratings of “Outstanding.”  Then the number of “Outstanding” ratings among the top ten banks fell to eight at the end of 2014, seven at the end of 2015, eight at the end of 2016, and five at the end of 2017-2019.  Santander (#4), Rockland Trust (#6), First Republic (#8), People's United (#9), and Berkshire Bank (#10) have most recent ratings of “Satisfactory.” Banks are ranked by total in-state deposits as reported by the FDIC for mid-2019.

Four of the top twelve CRA-eligible Licensed Mortgage Lenders, as ranked by total number of 2017 Massachusetts loans, have never received a rating: Quicken Loans (ranked #1), CrossCountry Mortgage (#8), Homebridge (#9), and Caliber (#12).  Quicken, which has been far above the fifty-loan threshold for ten years, received a Consent Order, rather than a rating, as a result of an exam begun in 2016