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The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) became law in 1977 to regulate commercial banks to ensure for-profit banks served communities and stop discriminatory lending practices. Prior to the legislation, the banking industry had an informal practice of redlining which was a blatant attempt to not extend credit in minority or lower-income communities in the United States.

The CRA is intended to regulate banks into meeting the credit needs of the communities in which they operate and extend products to the borrowers.

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