In 1977, Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a law intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. In 1989, Congress passed the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), which introduced a four-tier grading system for measuring a bank’s CRA performance and mandated public disclosure of all CRA reviews. In 1995, the regulatory bodies implemented a new “three-pronged” CRA exam that evaluates depository institutions’ performance based on lending, service, and investments.
In 1999, CCM launched its flagship mutual fund, the CRA Qualified Investment Fund (ticker: CRAIX) as a vehicle for banks looking to satisfy the “investment” test portion of their CRA exam. From a financial standpoint, each bank owns a pro-rata share of the Fund, whereby risks and returns are divided among all shareholders. From a CRA standpoint, qualified investments in each bank’s targeted assessment area(s) are purchased and earmarked, dollar for dollar, to each bank per CRA exam cycle.
A few years after launching CRAIX, we noticed an increasing amount of interest from non-bank investors for the same type of investments; however, they were using different terminology. Some called it socially responsible investing, mission-related investing, ESG investing, and impact investing. Regardless of the term, to us, it was all the same. Clients were using their investment dollars to invest in a market-rate bond fund with positive environmental and social outcomes. As a result, in 2007, two new share classes were added to the Fund – one for non-bank institutional investors (ticker: CRANX) which offers clients the ability to support specific geographies or impact themes and the other for individual investors (ticker: CRATX).
It is exciting to see what initially started as a vehicle for banks has grown to include all types of investors from foundations to religious organizations to family offices, and beyond. Today, after 18 years of investing in communities, the $2 billion CRA Fund remains a powerful tool for over 400 banks looking to satisfy their CRA investment requirements in addition to a variety of institutional investors looking to positively align their investments with their mission or their goals. In honor of CRA’s 40th anniversary, we continue to acknowledge its importance as part of our nation’s financial legislation, and we are excited to support its ongoing positive impact in our nation’s underserved communities.
The Fund is distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCO), 1 Freedom Valley Dr., Oaks, PA, which is not affiliated with Community Capital Management, Inc. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. The CRA Qualified Investment Fund is non-diversified.
Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. This and other information may be found in the fund’s prospectus, which may be obtained by visiting www.ccminvests.com. Please read it carefully before investing.