Q: § __.12(g)(4)(iii) – 1: What criteria are used to identify distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan, middle-income geographies?
A: Eligible nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies are those designated by the Agencies as being in distress or that could have difficulty meeting essential community needs (underserved). A particular geography could be designated as both distressed and underserved. As defined in 12 CFR __.12(k), a geography is a census tract delineated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
A nonmetropolitan middle-income geography will be designated as distressed if it is in a county that meets one or more of the following triggers: (1) an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average, (2) a poverty rate of 20 percent or more, or (3) a population loss of 10 percent or more between the previous and most recent decennial census or a net migration loss of five percent or more over the five-year period preceding the most recent census.
A nonmetropolitan middle-income geography will be designated as underserved if it meets criteria for population size, density, and dispersion that indicate the area’s population is sufficiently small, thin, and distant from a population center that the tract is likely to have difficulty financing the fixed costs of meeting essential community needs.
The Agencies will use as the basis for these designations the “urban influence codes,” numbered “7,” “10,” “11,” and “12,” maintained by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Agencies publish data source information along with the list of eligible nonmetropolitan census tracts on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Web site (http://www.ffiec.gov).
This Interagency Q&A, and others, was released in July 2016.
The 2016 Q&As consolidates and supersedes all previously published “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment,” and were noted as being effective immediately. They may be found here: http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/qnadoc.htm