Need to Conform with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Criteria?
How Tracking Volunteering Hours Can Pay Off
Since its implementation in 1977. The Community Reinvestment Act has significantly increased lending in LMI communities. And if you work at a bank that is currently creating lending opportunities for low and moderate income (LMI) businesses and borrowers, you know the importance of capturing all of the time and resources you have invested in an LMI community for CRA credits.
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) includes several tests that banks need to pass to prove they meet compliance and ensure they are in fact investing back into their local communities. One way to qualify for CRA credit is through capturing volunteer hours. As the Federal Reserve credits banks for volunteer hours that meet CRA criteria, you need to have a solution in place to track the results of ALL of your volunteer efforts - from financial literacy programs, to fundraising activities, to NPO board memberships.
Why Capturing All Employee Volunteer Efforts Is Essential for CRA Conformity:
Do you get the feeling you could be missing some CRA qualifying activities? It can be tedious and complex, and you’re not alone. It’s important to capture all of your potential CRA credits accurately, as it is critically important for a bank’s growth plans - the ability to open new locations, merge with other banks, acquire new locations, and fulfill overall expansion efforts.
There is lost opportunity for growth and expansion if a bank is unable to report volunteer activities and programs correctly to gain credits and as a result, it could slow down or stop growth plans all together. If CRA criteria is not met, your bank could risk your competition expanding to new locations faster, and potentially reduced market penetration. Any of the four monitoring agencies may deny an application for expansion if a bank has a poor CRA record, or only offer condition approval on improved performance.
For banking, and specifically for capturing CRA credits, tracking employee volunteerism and pro-bono activities such as community education like financial literacy programs, loan programs, volunteer hours at food banks, fundraising events, or board service is essential. In order to capture all CRA credits, it’s necessary to have a system in place that makes the process of tracking volunteer hours easier for administrators and volunteers, and helps manage and monitor volunteer programs seamlessly.
By accurately reporting activity in a timely manner, banks are able to prove they meet CRA requirements faster, and allows banks to continue with growth and expansion plans.
How To Capture ALL Of Your Volunteer Hours:
CyberGrants for Banking eases reporting burdens and streamlines the workflow and data required for CRA assessment areas. As four federal banking agencies examine individual banks periodically to assess their CRA records, it is important to have a solution that can expeditiously track and report results across a variety of activities. To ensure your volunteer hours aren’t going to waste, we help CRA audit teams gather the data they need easily and efficiently - data used to make quick and informed decisions. As all CRA activity is tracked through CyberGrants and available in dashboard views, administrators can track CRA activity in realtime and quickly identify if any assessment areas that could be falling behind on activity.
As some banks currently use tools and approaches that require a lot of manual, time consuming processes to report their CRA credits, they are leaving themselves exposed to the possibility of not meeting CRA criteria. Teams using spreadsheets compiled of data from multiple sources, for example, can be outdated or not comprehensive enough for regulators. This results in inaccurate reporting, difficulty in identifying gaps in assessment areas, and the potential to not effectively capture all volunteer hours available for CRA inclusion.
We understand that managing corporate volunteer programs is a lot of work, and to ease the burden of complying with the CRA, the right tools make all the difference in:
> Facilitating easier reporting to enable audit teams to inform regulators of CRA compliance efforts
> Tracking employee volunteer hours and monitoring progress toward bank goals
> Increasing participation and attendance through scheduling efficiencies and interactive dashboards that foster viral engagement.
With CyberGrants, we make it easier to develop robust volunteer programs and capture all the good you are doing. We help your employees with an easier process to track their volunteer hours, we provide administrators more agile ways to capture and report data, and we provide the ability to show results to regulators in efficient dashboards. Our single platform solution allows you to manage all of your philanthropic giving and maximize your banks investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
Download our eBook: A Practical Guide to Capturing CRA Service Credits for Banks to learn more.