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Career Story: Community Reinvestment Officer For A Bank

Community Reinvestment Officer For A Bank

Job Title: Community Reinvestment Officer

Type of Company: The company I work for is a full service, large regional bank

Education: BA, Government & Public Administration, The American University •• MCp (Masters, City Planning), University of Pennsylvania

Previous Experience: I have been involved in planning, housing and community development work for most of my professional life, in a variety of venues including government, private development and not-for-profit policy organizations. I also did consulting in the field.

Job Tasks: The Community Reinvestment Act is a federal law that requires that financial institutions make their lending facilities and other programs available to all parts of the community in which they do business, and develop programs and products that target under-served groups. As a Community Reinvestment Officer, I am responsible for assisting in developing these programs, to be the "face" of the bank in the community, to be involved in community based organizations that serve low and moderate income people or neighborhoods, to assist first time home buyers, to encourage volunteerism among the bank staff, and to find opportunities for all business lines in the bank to do community reinvestment eligible lending. As part of my duties, I also monitor our home mortgage data to see how we are performing with lending to low and moderate income households and lending in low/moderate income neighborhoods. Additionally, I monitor community reinvestment lending in the commercial real estate, commercial banking and small business banking parts of the bank. A major part of my responsibility as Community Reinvestment Officer is participating on our charitable contributions committee where requests for funds from organizations are reviewed and okayed.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job include being involved with not-for-profit organizations that do many good works in the community, especially those that are involved in human services and housing. I also enjoy developing and implementing new programs that enhance the bank's role in the community and bring more of the bank's services to people and neighborhoods that are under-served by financial institutions and programs.

There is no really "worst" part of my job. I would say that the most frustrating thing I sometimes have to deal with is the bank's occasional inflexibility in developing the necessary programs or infrastructure that could help our communities.

Job Tips:
1. Learn how to write well, and to write persuasively.

2. The job requires doing many different things on any given day. Be organized, flexible and always, always follow up on things.

3. Have a genuine and sympathetic knowledge of not-for-profit organizations and what their missions are in your community.

Additional Thoughts: What has surprised me the most about this career is the respect I get from my colleagues. Community Reinvestment is not something most bankers like to deal with because it does not return value to the bottom line immediately. However, I have been able to bring them around and convince them that our CRA ratings have to stay high -- the federal government audits a bank's CRA efforts every two years and scores us. And I've been able to show them how a sensitivity to community reinvestment activities does generate business in the medium-long term.

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