IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does the Community Reinvestment Act Improve Consumers’ Access to Credit



We study the impact of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on access to consumer credit since 1999 using an individual-level panel and three distinct identification strategies: a regression discontinuity design centered on a CRA-eligibility cutoff; a comparison of neighboring census blocks; and an event study of changes in eligibility. All three rule out a significant effect of the CRA on consumer borrowing. We show that this is in part explained by a shift in mortgages from nonbanks, which are free from CRA obligations, to banks in need of CRA-eligible mortgages. Our findings underscore the pitfalls of a circumscribed regulatory regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Conway & Jack Glaser & Matthew Plosser, 2023. "Does the Community Reinvestment Act Improve Consumers’ Access to Credit," Staff Reports 1048, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:95489

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Summary
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Freyaldenhoven & Christian Hansen & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2019. "Pre-event Trends in the Panel Event-Study Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(9), pages 3307-3338, September.
    2. Matias D. Cattaneo & Michael Jansson & Xinwei Ma, 2020. "Simple Local Polynomial Density Estimators," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 115(531), pages 1449-1455, July.
    3. Zinman, Jonathan, 2010. "Restricting consumer credit access: Household survey evidence on effects around the Oregon rate cap," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 546-556, March.
    4. Kenneth P. Brevoort, 2022. "Does Giving CRA Credit for Loan Purchases Increase Mortgage Credit in Low-to-Moderate Income Communities?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2022-047, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Lee, Hyojung & Bostic, Raphael W., 2020. "Bank adaptation to neighborhood change: Mortgage lending and the Community Reinvestment Act," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    6. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
    7. Neil Bhutta, 2011. "The Community Reinvestment Act and Mortgage Lending to Lower Income Borrowers and Neighborhoods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 953-983.
    8. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort, 2015. "The Subprime Crisis: Is Government Housing Policy to Blame?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 352-363, May.
    9. Sebastian Calonico & Matias D. Cattaneo & Max H. Farrell & Roc ́ıo Titiunik, 2017. "rdrobust: Software for regression-discontinuity designs," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 17(2), pages 372-404, June.
    10. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    11. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2007. "Opportunities and Issues in Using HMDA Data," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 29(4), pages 351-380.
    12. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    13. Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2010. "An introduction to the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel," Staff Reports 479, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Gary Dymski, 1995. "The theory of bank redlining and discrimination: An exploration," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 37-74, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kenneth P. Brevoort, 2022. "Does Giving CRA Credit for Loan Purchases Increase Mortgage Credit in Low-to-Moderate Income Communities?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2022-047, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Kim, Mee Jung & Lee, Kyung Min & Earle, John S., 2021. "Does the Community Reinvestment Act Increase Small Business Lending in Lower Income Neighborhoods?," IZA Discussion Papers 14681, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Gurgand, Marc & Lorenceau, Adrien & Mélonio, Thomas, 2023. "Student loans: Credit constraints and higher education in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C).
    4. Kim, Mee Jung & Lee, Kyung Min & Earle, John S., 2021. "Does the Community Reinvestment Act increase lending to small businesses in lower income neighborhoods?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 209(C).
    5. Blaise Melly & Rafael Lalive, 2020. "Estimation, Inference, and Interpretation in the Regression Discontinuity Design," Diskussionsschriften dp2016, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    6. Simona Helmsmüller & Andreas Landmann, 2022. "Does free hospitalization insurance change health care consumption of the poor? Short-term evidence from Pakistan," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 47(1), pages 238-275, March.
    7. Daniel R. Ringo, 2023. "Monetary Policy and Home Buying Inequality," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2023-006, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Kämpfen, F.; & Gómez-Olivé, X.; & O’Donnell, O.; & Riumallo Herl, C.;, 2023. "Effectiveness of Population-Based Hypertension Screening: A Multidimensional Regression Discontinuity Design," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 23/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Daniel Graeber & Felicitas Schikora, 2021. "Hate Is Too Great a Burden to Bear: Hate Crimes and the Mental Health of Refugees," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1130, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Marianna Sebo & Raymond Gradus & Tjerk Budding, 2023. ""The influence of independent local parties on spending: Evidence from Dutch municipalities"," IREA Working Papers 202304, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised May 2023.
    11. Kim, Mee Jung & Lee, Kyung Min & Brown, J. David & Earle, John S., 2021. "Black Entrepreneurs, Job Creation, and Financial Constraints," IZA Discussion Papers 14403, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Casarico, Alessandra & Lattanzio, Salvatore & Profeta, Paola, 2022. "Women and local public finance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    13. Pasquini, Ricardo A., 2021. "Effects of regulating the brokerage commission in the rental market: Evidence from Buenos Aires," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    14. Sacha Kapoor & Matthijs Oosterveen & Dinand Webbink, 2021. "The price of forced attendance," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(2), pages 209-227, March.
    15. Albert Whata & Charles Chimedza, 2021. "Credibility of Causal Estimates from Regression Discontinuity Designs with Multiple Assignment Variables," Stats, MDPI, vol. 4(4), pages 1-23, November.
    16. Francetic, Igor & Meacock, Rachel & Sutton, Matt, 2022. "Understanding Concordance in Health Behaviours among Couples: Evidence from the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 310-345.
    17. Burgherr, David, 2022. "Behavioral Responses to a Pension Savings Mandate : Quasi-experimental Evidence from Swiss Tax Data," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 645, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    18. Gago Andrés & Carozzi Felipe & Bermejo Vicente J. & Abad Jose M., 2023. "Government Turnover and External Financial Assistance," Asociación Argentina de Economía Política: Working Papers 4655, Asociación Argentina de Economía Política.
    19. Keil, Jan, 2023. "Lending relationships when creditors are in control," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    20. Kim, Mee Jung, 2023. "Impact of the Community Reinvestment Act on small business employment in lower income neighborhoods," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).

    More about this item


    Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); household finance; banks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:95489. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Gabriella Bucciarelli (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.