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Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
Enacted by Congress in 1977, the CRA encourages banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities for housing and other purposes, particularly in neighborhoods with low or moderate incomes, while maintaining safe and sound operations.
Canada Revenue Agency
The tax collection agency for the Canadian government. It is responsible for collecting all federal taxes derived from sources other than tariffs and associated fees. It also collects income taxes on behalf of all provinces except Quebec and provincial corporate taxes except for Alberta and Quebec. The CRA is also responsible for collecting the goods and services tax, which is the Canadian VAT. See also: IRS, Notice of seizure.
Community Reinvestment Act
A 1977 U.S. law encouraging banks and other lending agencies to extend credit to low and moderate income persons wishing to buy a home. The original contained no penalties, but prohibited lending institutions from discriminating against a potential homeowner based on where he/she lives. Regulatory changes in 1995 and legislative amendment in 1999 are often blamed for encouraging banks to make excessively risky loans in exchange for the ability to offer investment and insurance services. Because of this, some believe the CRA is responsible for the housing bubble that contributed to the recession that began in 2008. See also: Credit Crunch, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
Credit Rating Agency
A company that provides investors with assessments of an investment's risk. The issuers of investments, especially debt securities, pay credit rating agencies to provide them with ratings. A high rating indicates low risk and may therefore encourage investors to buy a security. Additionally, banks may only invest in securities with a high rating from two or more credit rating agencies. The SEC recognizes 10 firms as credit rating agencies; Fitch, S&P, and Moody's are the three most prominent. However, the methods of credit ratings agencies have been subject to criticism. For example, most agencies gave high-risk mortgage-backed securities top ratings until they defaulted at the collapse of the housing bubble.