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By Linda Ezuka | September 16, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

Essential Steps Every CRA Officer Must Follow to Ensure a Smooth CRA Exam

Running a CRA program is difficult during the best of times. And when it’s time for a CRA exam, your job only gets more stressful.  But when you have a clear picture of what’s expected of you, your exam can be a lot easier.  In la...

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By Linda Ezuka | September 09, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

The 7 Steps Every Examiner Takes During a CRA Exam

Your bank is steadfast in meeting the credit needs of all businesses, both large and small, in your communities. Your job is to capture and identify all eligible community development activities going into a regulatory exam. But wha...

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By Linda Ezuka | September 02, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

What Bank Boards and Executive Leadership Need to Know About the CRA

All successful programs have support from the top, and CRA isn’t any different! It’s important to keep your bank board and executive management briefed on your CRA program. But how do you do this?  In this dated but still relevant ...

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By Casey Elliott | August 24, 2021 | 8 Minute Read

6 Proven Ways to Increase Your Financial Institution's Website Traffic

It’s virtually impossible to thrive in today’s digital marketplace without maintaining a strong presence online. The internet is the first tool many turn to when looking for a financial institution — and if your website isn’t produc...

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By Linda Ezuka | August 19, 2021 | 6 Minute Read

CRA Self-Assessments: Why You Need One and Where To Start

Are you ready for your next CRA exam? If you’re like most CRA professionals, preparing for a CRA exam is a never-ending process. One way to make this process a little more manageable is by creating a CRA self-assessment. Most CRA of...

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By Linda Ezuka | August 12, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

Where to Start if You’re New to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

If you don’t have a large CRA team, haven’t had much training, or just inherited your bank’s CRA program, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s hard to run a CRA program during the best of times, but it may seem impossi...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | August 03, 2021 | 12 Minute Read

The Outstanding CRA Rating: How To Get It And Why You Should

The ideas in this article came from our webinar with Janice DeLima from Norway Savings Bank. You can access the webinar recording here.  Many banks are happy with a Satisfactory CRA rating. In fact, many banks don’t even try to get...

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By Casey Elliott | July 27, 2021 | 7 Minute Read

5 Ways to Post Great Content: Financial Institution Social Media Dos and Don’ts

Like any other professional who oversees social media marketing for financial institutions, you know how much time it takes. And when the return on your investment is low, it’s a problem. You're smart to incorporate Facebook, Linked...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | July 22, 2021 | 6 Minute Read

6 Solid Steps to Avoid Underreporting Community Development Loans

An estimated 80% of banks underreport their community development loans. This means that 80% of banks are under-representing their CRA lending performance, which puts their CRA ratings at risk.   The lending portion of the CRA exam...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | July 20, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

How to Earn CRA Credit: 7 Ideas to Get You Started

Are you looking for ways to get CRA credit for your financial institution? With so many possible activities and so few details about what counts for CRA credit, it can be difficult to figure out which activities will be the most ben...

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By Linda Ezuka | July 15, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

Who Exactly Is Responsible for Your Bank’s CRA Program?

If you said “the CRA Officer,” I want to challenge your thinking on that. You should consider your bank’s CRA program to be the responsibility of every employee in your company, from the tellers on the bank floor to the back office ...

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By Linda Ezuka | July 08, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

The Power of Financial Institution and CDFI Partnerships

Are you ready to partner with a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve talked a lot about the value and power of CDFI partnerships, and I know it can be overwhelming to get started. ...

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By Linda Ezuka | July 01, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

Equity Equivalent Investments—Multiplying Future Impact

Ever wish you could find a way to multiply your financial institution’s impact on the community and improve your CRA performance? Equity Equivalent Investments might be just what you need! Equity Equivalent Investments, or EQ2s, ar...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | June 29, 2021 | 9 Minute Read

How to Build Emotional Connections with Potential Customers

One of the most important things your financial institution does is connect with potential customers. Recent research has shown that one of the best ways for a financial institution to connect with potential customers is by building...

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By Linda Ezuka | June 17, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

Credit Unions: Friend or Foe?

Friend! Credit unions can be an essential ally for banks, helping with community development investments and your Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program.  Ready for a radical idea? Invest in a credit union to improve your CRA inv...

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By Linda Ezuka | June 08, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

How to Partner with Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). Wait, what?

You want me to place a deposit with a “competing” financial institution? No, we are not out of our minds here. Placing deposits, making an investment, or even providing a grant to a Minority Depository Institution (MDI) may count to...

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By Linda Ezuka | May 31, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

CDFIs—Your Partners in Community Development

Struggling to find ways to bring affordable, flexible capital into your community while creating net income for your bank? A partnership with a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) might be the answer you’re looking fo...

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By Casey Elliott | April 21, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

How to Encourage Employees to Submit Volunteer Hours: 3 Tips to Implement Today

Any good bank or credit union manager knows the importance of community initiatives and engagement. Volunteering in the community is at the cornerstone of what it means to be a good local financial institution.  ‌ Unfortunately, bec...

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By Linda Ezuka | March 30, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

CRA Service Fundamentals

Remember the days when we were volunteering for nonprofit fundraising dinners or waking up early on Saturday morning to participate in a community walk fundraiser? The pandemic has changed many of the ways we volunteer, but the core...

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By Brendon Boren | March 22, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

Student-Operated Branches - Community Involvement Ideas

Community involvement is vital for local institutions, and more and more businesses are recognizing that. However, it can be difficult to come up with unique community involvement ideas.  First Metro Bank, in northwest Alabama, has...

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