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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 at the bottom of this screen. This list of questions will help you think about your CRA program and build the perfect plan to promote your program and make a difference in your community.) The...

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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 pick...

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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 | November 02, 2021 | 6 Minute Read

Seacoast Bank's CRA Ambassadors: How to Engage Employees in CRA

If you struggle to engage bank employees in your CRA program, you aren’t alone. Just like most financial institutions, Seacoast Bank used to find it hard to engage employees and spread the word about their community initiatives.  B...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | October 26, 2021 | 7 Minute Read

Why Financial Literacy is so Important and How Pinnacle Bank Got CRA Credit

The information in this article came from our webinar with Linda Ezuka of CRA Today, Sue Kocsis from Pinnacle Bank, and Nick Hammerstad from Banzai. You can access the webinar recording here.  Why is financial literacy so important...

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By Jaidyn Crookston | October 19, 2021 | 5 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 unio...

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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 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 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?

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, 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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