Section 14: Credit needs of local communities; assessment of banks; regulations; application for establishment of domestic branch; examination; alternative community reinvestment examination procedure
Section 14. The commissioner shall assess the record of each supervised bank in satisfying their continuing and affirmative obligation to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which offices and branches are maintained, including areas contiguous thereto and low and moderate income neighborhoods, consistent with the safe and sound operation of such banks.
To assist in carrying out this section, the commissioner shall promulgate regulations which shall include the regulations promulgated pursuant to federal law; provided, however, that with respect to such assessments of corporations chartered pursuant to chapter 171 and electronic banking activities and the electronic delivery of banking services, including internet banking activities of banks, the commissioner may make such adjustments and exceptions thereto as are deemed required; and provided, further, that the regulations may include, but not be limited to, a consideration of a bank's origination of loans and other efforts to assist existing low and moderate income residents to be able to remain in affordable housing in their neighborhoods, a bank's origination of loans that show an undue concentration and a systematic pattern of lending resulting in the loss of affordable housing units, a bank's participation, including investments in community development and redevelopment programs and small business technical assistance programs, pursuant but not limited to, paragraphs 8, 29, 30 and 30A of section 2 of chapter 167F, and such other requirements as in the judgment of the commissioner reasonably bear upon the extent to which a bank is helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the commissioner shall further take into account the provision of state-of-the art computers and internet access at minimal or no cost to low and moderate income residents as part of the assessment of electronic banking activities and the electronic delivery of banking services, including internet banking activities of banks. Except for emergency regulations adopted pursuant to section 2 of chapter 30A, a regulation, or an amendment or repeal thereof, shall, after compliance with section 5 of chapter 30A, be submitted to the general court.
The commissioner shall file the proposed regulation, amendment or repeal with the clerk of the house of representatives, together with a statement that the pertinent provisions of said chapter thirty A have been complied with and a summary of the regulations in layman's terms. The clerk shall refer such filing to the joint committee on banks and banking within five days of the filing thereof. No such regulation shall take effect until ninety days after it has been so filed; provided, however, that such ninety day period shall not include days when the general court is prohibited by law or rule from meeting in formal session.
In considering an application for the establishment of a domestic branch or other facility with the ability to accept deposits, the relocation of the main office or branch office, or a merger or consolidation with or the acquisition of assets or assumption of liabilities of any Massachusetts bank, federal bank, foreign bank, out-of-state bank or out-of-state federal bank, the commissioner shall consider, but not be limited to, the record of performance of the bank and its holding company, including all subsidiaries thereof, relative to this section. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the commissioner shall establish an alternative community reinvestment examination procedure for supervised banks which, as of the most recent federal or state examination, have been assigned a rating of outstanding record or high satisfactory record of performance in meeting its community credit needs.
Said record of performance of any such bank and holding company may be the basis for the denial of any such application.
Upon the completion of the examination of a bank under this section, the commissioner shall prepare a written evaluation of the bank's said record of performance which shall be open to public inspection upon request. Said written evaluation shall include:
(1) the assessment factors utilized to determine the bank's descriptive rating;
(2) the commissioner's conclusions with respect to each such assessment factor;
(3) a discussion of the facts supporting such conclusions; and
(4) the bank's descriptive rating and the basis therefor.
Based upon such examination, the bank shall be assigned one of the following ratings:
(a) outstanding record of performance in meeting its community credit needs;
(b) high satisfactory record of performance in meeting its community credit needs;
(c) satisfactory record of performance in meeting its community credit needs;
(d) needs to improve record of performance in meeting its community credit needs; or
(e) substantial noncompliance in meeting its community credit needs.
For the purposes of this section, the commissioner may conduct any such examinations or may enter into cooperative agreements with bank regulators in jurisdictions other than the commonwealth, including federal regulators, relative to the coordination of or joint participation in any such examinations, the amount and assessment of fees therefor or enforcement actions relevant thereto, and may accept reports of examinations by such regulators pursuant to such agreements. Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting in any way the authority of the commissioner to independently conduct examinations of and enforcement actions against any Massachusetts or out-of-state branch.
Any such alternative procedure established pursuant to this section shall seek to effect cost reductions for banks; provided, however, that any such procedure shall not limit public participation therein as permitted under said federal regulations.