Lael Brainard: Modernizing and strengthening CRA regulations: a conversation with the National Congress of American Indians

Speech by Ms Lael Brainard, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the National Congress of American Indians 77th Annual Convention & Marketplace (via webcast), 10 November 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
11 November 2020

Good afternoon and thank you to President Fawn Sharp and Kevin Allis of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for inviting me to join your discussion. As the oldest and largest American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities, your voice is vitally important on economic issues affecting Indian Country. We appreciate your engagement on our work to reform the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to better address credit and investment needs in Indian Country.

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting with the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. We toured the major housing, small business, and community development mixed-use project, which was under construction. Despite the importance of the Thunder Valley project to the community, banks were not among the funders listed for this important project. Their absence underscores the broader challenge underserved communities such as the Pine Ridge Reservation face when they are included in only one bank's CRA assessment area. I thought about this challenge frequently as we worked on the Board's proposal to reform CRA.

We recognize the importance of engaging with Indian Country to inform research and policymaking at the Federal Reserve. The Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is a key resource across the Federal Reserve System in fulfilling our responsibility to Indian Country. The CICD is led by Casey Lozar, who is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the CICD's Native staff have deep expertise in community and economic development in Indian Country. I greatly value the research and thought leadership of the CICD, as well as their input on policy decisions regarding Indian Country and work to deepen our engagement with tribal communities.