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Keywords:

  • G11;
  • K20;
  • L51;
  • O16
  • CRA;
  • financial regulation;
  • regulatory enforcement;
  • lending behavior

We analyze residential mortgage lending by banks in periods surrounding upgrades or downgrades in their ratings under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Empirical results indicate that upgraded banks had higher relative levels of lending than did downgraded banks prior to ratings changes. Additionally, both downgraded and upgraded banks increased lending following implementation of reforms to the CRA in the 1990s, which were intended to more closely align rating assessment with lending outcomes. Little support is provided, on the other hand, for a hypothesis that banks respond to downgrades by increasing lending (despite apparent incentives for them to do so).