Volume 9; No. 4; Fall 1997
Connecting CRA to the Web
By Fred Mendez and Ariel Andres, Community Affairs Department, Federal
Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Databases of valuable economic and demographic data are just a Website
away for many community-based organizations and financial institutions
seeking local, regional and national information. Not only is this data
relatively easy to access via the Internet, but the Net offers a cost-effective,
practical and timely means of obtaining census, lending and other statistical
data. For financial institutions who want to gain a better understanding
of their markets or develop an internal performance context, these websites
offer a great opportunity to get the process underway. A note of caution,
however, be sure to verify the accuracy of the data provided. This is
often an issue of timeliness rather than wrong information, but it is
wise to check the date of the last website update. There are thousands
of websites available to the public, but the following are a collection
that community affairs staff has found helpful in conducting regulatory,
community and economic development research.
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Geocoding
The FFIEC Geocoding System allows a user to retrieve MSA, State,
County and Census Tract/BNA codes for each street address entered. The
system is primarily intended to assist financial institutions covered
by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Community Reinvestment
Act (CRA) to meet their reporting obligations. However, the system may
also be useful if you are interested in demographic (mainly population
and income) information.
In addition to accessing the above website, the FFIEC Home Page
also allows you to order CRA/HMDA data.
The Government Information Sharing Project at Oregon State University
The Government Information Sharing Project, funded by a grant from
the United States Department of Education, demonstrates how technology
can be used to create a user-friendly and powerful system for accessing
U.S. Federal Government information. This site at Oregon State University
has links to demographic, education, and economic data provided by the
Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the National Center
for Education Statistics and The MESA Group.
The RTK NET is a network providing free access to numerous databases,
text files, and conferences on the environment, housing and sustainable
development. With information available on RTK NET one can identify specific
factories and their environmental effects, analyze reinvestment by banks
in their communities and assess the impact on the communities affected.
The RTK NET offers HMDA standard reports which allow the following searches:
The GIS will allow traditional database queries including the ability
to analyze data based on location and compare different pieces of information
based on their common geography. Essential Information uses GIS as a tool
for advocacy purposes to highlight patterns of discrimination. Information
is available on such issues as banking/fair lending, crime, demographics,
congressional districts and the environment. Please note that because the
GIS is currently under construction, not all geographic data are available.
The banking and fair lending page for Essential Information has the following
The HUD Internet website provides multifamily development information
for use by community-based organizations and financial institutions. A user
from a financial institution can access information describing the geographic
distribution of more than 2,800 projects, 334,000 units, and $12.9 million
endorsed for FHA insurance of the 202/811 capital advances/loans during
FY 1994-1996. Tables, charts and maps are available as well as a narrative
summarizing national trends over the last three years. With data accessible
in the Lender Reports section, a community-based user can identify the products
offered by a lender, the states and regions in which each lender operates
and a lender's rank by volume of business.
Federal Banking Regulatory Agencies
The following are Internet addresses used to access CRA examination schedules,
ratings and application information:
This is a system in which a user enters a code (see below), and the
information is faxed to the requestor.
#10014 CRA Exam Schedule
#10015 CRA Performance Evaluations
For CRA ratings and schedule of exams.
To locate Application Notices subject to CRA, a user can scroll to
the Regulation and Supervision heading on the Federal Reserve Board of
Governors home page, click on applications received (H2A), scroll down
under H2A Release Dates and choose updates to current releases.
To locate the schedule of exams, a user can scroll down to the following
categories on the FDIC's Banking News home page: the quarterly CRA exam
schedule and the monthly list of banks examined for CRA Compliance.