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WASHINGTON — Requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act have changed with time and experience and, going forward, that must continue for it to remain relevant, according to recent remarks by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“The CRA is clearly far from perfect. Although its objectives are broad and ambitious, its net effects on lower-income neighborhoods are difficult to measure with precision,” he told a recent Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington, D.C. “Addressing CRA responsibilities also imposes costs on financial institutions. It appears that, at least in some instances, the CRA has served as a catalyst, inducing banks to enter underserved markets that they might otherwise have ignored. At its most successful, the CRA may have had a multiplier effect, supplementing its direct impact by stimulating new market-based, profit-driven economic activity in lower-income neighborhoods.”

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