Influential House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has always been a strong proponent of the Community Reinvestment Act and is looking to revamp the program to bring all financial services providers under the law and revise enforcement capabilities.

Frank in discussing his CRA plans referred to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, which found a disparity between lending to minorities and lower-income households vis-? -vis Caucasian higher income households. Additionally, the spreads on loans to different population segments showed further variances. He called the findings "unacceptable" and charged that the disparities worsened the subprime crisis.

Despite not being subject to CRA at this point, credit unions outperformed banks and thrifts in these areas of concern to the chairman. HMDA data as analyzed by NAFCU's research department stated that credit unions approved 75% of mortgage loans from households under $40,000 in annual income versus 61% at banks and 63% at thrifts. Credit unions approved 58% of minority applicants with household incomes under $40,000 compared to 49% at banks and 51% a thrifts. The figures for minority families over $40,000 in household income were 79%, 66%, and 65%, respectively.

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