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By Jaidyn Crookston | August 09, 2022 | 10 Minute Read

How to Successfully Mine for Community Development Loans

You’ve probably heard the term before: community development loan mining. Ugh. What a chore.    But as a CRA Officer or CRA Analyst, it’s your job to identify all CRA-eligible loans originated by your bank.    But that doesn’t m...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | April 26, 2022 | 8 Minute Read

How to Spend Less Time Preparing for Your CRA Exam

Traditionally, preparing for a CRA exam has been a long, frustrating process. There’s so much to do, and CRA Officers often don’t have the support they need to do it all. Instead of spending week upon endless week preparing for your...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | January 04, 2022 | 9 Minute Read

How to Build a Successful CRA Strategy and Action Plan for 2022

(Don't forget to download the free PDF, "26 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building Your CRA Plan for the New Year." This list of questions will help you think about your CRA program and build the perfect plan to promote your progra...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | December 21, 2021 | 10 Minute Read

Ask an Examiner! How to Prepare for Your CRA Exam

Are you preparing for your next CRA exam? If you are, or you will be soon, you’d probably love to get the inside scoop on how an examiner thinks about an exam.    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sit down with a CRA examiner and pic...

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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 Jaidyn Crookston | October 19, 2021 | 6 Minute Read

Donate Old Computer Equipment to Help Your Community (and Possibly Receive CRA Credit)

The ideas in this article came from a webinar with Sarah Baharin, VP, Fair Lending/CRA Officer at North American Savings Bank, and Zina Stankewsky at PCs for People. You can access the webinar recording here.    Banks and credit uni...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | August 03, 2021 | 13 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 ge...

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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 exa...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | July 20, 2021 | 6 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?

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 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, a...

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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 | 4 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 in...

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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

Want to boost your bank's CDFI partnerships? Download this CDFI partnership implementation checklist.   Download   Struggling to find ways to bring affordable, flexible capital into your community while creating net income for your ...

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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 Assis...

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By Cassandra Giovanni | February 02, 2021 | 4 Minute Read

How Stockman Bank uses Kadince to Streamline Compliance Management

Stockman Bank of Montana is the largest privately-owned bank in the state. With 36 locations and $4.7 billion in assets, the bank has deep community roots. Ensuring compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is vital to th...

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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 depending on their size, report key da...

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