Bremer Bank's Community Reinvestment Activities Earn 'Outstanding' Rating
In the most recent Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) exam by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Bremer Bank Twin Cities received a rating of ‘Outstanding’ for its Community Reinvestment efforts. This rating – the highest regulatory rating possible – recognizes Bremer’s efforts to meet or exceed community needs in the areas of small business lending, financial education and affordable housing.
“Bremer Bank was founded on the principle that direct investment in our communities is critical if they are to maintain their health and vitality,” said Steve Meads, president Bremer Bank Twin Cities. “At Bremer, we are committed to building healthy communities through partnerships and we are proud of our long-standing investment in the health of those communities.”
The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 required banks to meet the credit needs of all the communities where they do business, especially low-to-moderate income communities and families.
Bremer received an overall “Outstanding” rating in all three of the exam’s test categories: Lending (mortgages, small business, and community development for affordable housing and economic development); Services (retail banking stores, alternative delivery channels, and financial outreach); and Investments (funding capital and grants to community organizations). “Given the challenging economic environment of the past few years, it’s very gratifying to have earned this outstanding rating, particularly in the area of lending,” said Meads.
The exam period included CRA performance from 2004 through 2008. Highlights of the exam included:
• A substantial portion of Bremer’s loans reflect excellent responsiveness in relation to the identified credit needs and the bank’s deposit market share.
• During the evaluation period, Bremer originated 93% of its HMDA loans by number and 92% by dollar volume within its assessment areas (Aas). For small loans to businesses, 96% were originated within the AAs. During the same time period, 90 percent of home mortgage loans were originated or purchased within the AAs. This volume of local lending demonstrates excellent responsiveness to area credit needs.
• Bremer’s distribution for home mortgage loans is excellent in relation to the family income characteristics of the Minneapolis/St. Paul MSA and good for small loans to businesses.
• Bremer developed various flexible products to address the credit needs of the assessment area. Bremer participates in many loan programs that are targeted to low-and moderate-income borrowers and have flexible underwriting features.
• Bremer is a leader in providing community development services in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The bank works with several nonprofit organizations and housing agencies to address the issues of affordable housing and foreclosure prevention.
Bremer Financial Corporation
Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately-held, $7.6 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by its employees and the Otto Bremer Foundation (OBF). Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance services to more than 100 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. OBF uses its share of dividends to distribute charitable grants to Bremer Bank communities. In 2008, more than $30 million in charitable donations were given across the Bremer footprint and employees donated nearly 93,000 volunteer hours to their communities. For more information, go to bremer.com.