The Puerto Rico Bankers Association will be submitting a set of recommendations to the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth addressing key areas in federal banking regulations that could be eased to benefit the Commonwealth’s economy, Executive Director Zoimé Álvarez-Rubio confirmed Wednesday.
Specifically, she said the trade group will focus on Community Reinvestment Act regulations, which closely concern Puerto Rico’s banking sector.
“Because banking is so highly regulated, one of the laws that affects us the most is the CRA. We’re going to look at what specific issues affect us when we’re compared to other states to be able to improve that segment and in turn help our economy,” she said. “We always have to ask ourselves how this will help the industry, but if that also helps the economy, then it will be included in our recommendations.”
The CRA is designed to encourage commercial banks and savings associations to help meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, she said the trade group’s committees are meeting this week to gather other recommendations to be included in the final document that should be ready next week. Other potential areas of opportunity related to mortgage regulations, Housing and Urban Development and Small Business Administration programs and other federal programs.
Earlier this month, the Task Force put out a call seeking input from both the public and private sector in Puerto Rico, which have until Sept. 2 to submit their comments via email.
The Task Force was established as part of the approval of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) and is chaired by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and is comprised of U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Bill Nelson (D-Fla.); and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) as well as U.S. Representatives Sean Duffy (R-Wis.); Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.); Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.); and Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico).
Álvarez-Rubio said the Bankers Association conveyed its intention to Pierluisi of submitting recommendations before the deadline.
“As the banking sector, we believe it’s very important to help economic development and that this new structure under PROMESA comes with measures to help make that happen,” she said.