Q: § __.41(d) – 1: When may an institution adjust the boundaries of an assessment area to include only a portion of a political subdivision?
A: Institutions must include whole geographies (i.e., census tracts) in their assessment areas and generally should include entire political subdivisions. Because census tracts are the common geographic areas used consistently nationwide for data collection, the Agencies require that assessment areas be made up of whole geographies. If including an entire political subdivision would create an area that is larger than the area the institution can reasonably be expected to serve, an institution may, but is not required to, adjust the boundaries of its assessment area to include only portions of the political subdivision. For example, this adjustment is appropriate if the assessment area would otherwise be extremely large, of unusual configuration, or divided by significant geographic barriers (such as a river, mountain, or major highway system). When adjusting the boundaries of their assessment areas, institutions must not arbitrarily exclude low- or moderate-income geographies or set boundaries that reflect illegal discrimination.
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