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NR 2006-67
Contact: Robert M. Garsson
(202) 874-5770

Dugan Urges Congress to Provide Increased Authority For Banks and Thrifts to Invest in Low- and Moderate-Income Communities

WASHINGTON – Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan today urged Congress to adopt legislation that would increase the authority of banks and thrifts to invest in projects that provide housing, community services, and jobs for low- and moderate-income communities and families across the nation.

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Dugan said a provision in the House legislation, modified to extend to all banks and thrifts, should be adopted.

The House language would raise the limit on such public welfare investments by federally chartered banks and thrifts to 15 percent of capital and surplus, up from 10 percent.  Mr. Dugan urged the two committees to expand the authority to include all insured banks and savings associations.

"These investments support critically needed urban revitalization, rural development and job creation," Mr. Dugan said in his letter.  "They do so in a manner that is not only beneficial to the communities served, but enjoys a solid track record of profitability and safety and soundness."

National banks have made more than $16 billion in public welfare investments since the law was passed in 1992, and some banks are approaching the 10 percent limit.  The enhanced authority supported by the OCC would make it possible for national banks alone to invest as much as $30 billion to revitalize communities across the nation.

Identical letters went to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee.  A copy of one of the letters is available on the OCC’s Web site.

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