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By Linda Ezuka | November 18, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

How to Use Capital Stacks to Grow Your Bank’s CRA Program

At some point in your journey as a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) officer, you’ll likely find yourself involved in a community-based public-private partnership economic development project. When this happens, your bank may have th...

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By Linda Ezuka | October 07, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

Consumer Loans and the CRA: Weigh Your Options Carefully!

As a CRA officer, you know how important it is to get consideration under the CRA for as many loans, services, and investments as possible. This means that some banks like to include their consumer loans under their lending performa...

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By Linda Ezuka | September 23, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

Want a Smooth CRA Exam? Appoint an Exam Liaison

How did your last CRA exam go? Did it run perfectly smoothly? Did you hand your CRA examiners your self-assessment, shake hands, and tell them you’ll see them next exam?  Probably not. Chances are it was a hectic week of pulling re...

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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 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 Linda Ezuka | July 15, 2021 | 5 Minute Read

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

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...

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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 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 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 Linda Ezuka | February 24, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

Why You Should Conduct CRA Self-Assessments

Are you crystal clear on your bank’s performance? Do key stakeholders know how they fit into the CRA function of the bank? Do you know everything you need to know for your upcoming CRA exam?  These are the questions that all CRA Of...

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By Linda Ezuka | February 18, 2021 | 3 Minute Read

Community Involvement Ideas During COVID - VITA

Are you looking for impactful, CRA-qualified volunteer opportunities during the pandemic?   The IRS and local social service nonprofits in your communities are looking for volunteers to support the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assist...

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By Linda Ezuka | January 20, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

CRA Data Integrity - What it is, and why it matters

Data collection, maintenance, and reporting are important aspects of financial institution evaluations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Financial institutions collect, maintain, and report key data elements to the federal...

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