WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Board Governor Lawrence B. Lindsey should recuse himself from voting on Community Reinvestment Act reform because of his vocal opposition to parts of the proposal, a community activist said Tuesday.
"We think it is inappropriate during a public comment period where a regulator is not supposed to prejudge a rule to comment," said Allen Fishbein, counsel to the Center for Community Change.
Mr. Lindsey has said repeatedly he opposes a provision requiring the reporting of racial and gender information for small business loans under $1 million.
He has said the data can be misleading because lenders do not use fixed standards for small business loans.
Mr. Lindsey was out of the office yesterday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Fishbein, in a speech to nearly 20 protesters on the rainsoaked steps of the Fed's headquarters here, said direct lending should count for more of the final CRA rating.
Moreover, he added, the final rules must include the business loan data reporting requirements.
The fair-housing advocates also called on Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder and Governor Janet Yellen, both appointed by President Clinton, to distance themselves from Mr. Lindsey's opposition to data reporting.
Several speakers at the rally said the best way to ensure greater CRA compliance is to force financial institutions to publicly disclose more information about their loan portfolios.
"We aren't afraid of sunshine," Greenlining Coalition executive director John Gamboa said. "Only Governor Lindsey is afraid of sunshine."