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Rubin To Tour South Bronx, Hear Concerns About Community Lending Rules

May 31, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will visit the South Bronx on Friday and discuss with local business owners how community lending laws have helped residents rebuild low-income areas.

The visit comes as the Clinton Administration fights Republican proposals to revamp laws that prohibit banks from skirting poor neighborhoods. Community groups say the proposals would considerably weaken the Community Reinvestment Act _ a law requiring banks to make loans in all areas of the communities they serve.

Rubin will visit three South Bronx neighborhoods that have been revitalized with the help of community development groups funded by banks and corporations.

The secretary is coming ``to see how CRA is benefitting the community,″ said Jon Murchinson, a Treasury spokesman.

Rubin was invited to the South Bronx by the Local Initiatives Support Corp., a non-profit organization that raises money from the private sector for local community groups building and rehabilitating homes in blighted urban areas.

``We want to stress that CRA has been crucial to″ the revitalization of the South Bronx neighborhoods Rubin will see on Friday, said Paul Grogan, president.

In a carefully-crafted compromise between the banking industry and community advocates, the administration’s proposed new CRA would retain the law’s primary goal _ to keep banks from ``redlining″ or avoiding poor neighborhoods _ but addresses bankers’ complaints that the act creates burdensome and costly paperwork.

Republicans are seeking to change the law so that many banks will be exempt from it and protected from attacks by community groups that use the law to hold up mergers.

``This would be the equivalent of repealing CRA,″ said Grogan.

A walking tour of Bryant Street, Charlotte Gardens and the Longwood Ave. business district of the Bronx has been scheduled, followed by a meeting with local political leaders and business owners.

Few banks have branches in these areas, prompting neighborhood groups to file complaints with regulators against some of New York’s biggest banks.

Representatives from J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc., Chemical Banking Corp. and Citicorp will attend the meetings Friday, Grogan said.

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