new data-collection requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act. The Consumer Bankers Association last week asked the regulators, at four federal agencies, to put off until July 1 rules requiring banks to record the size of loans to small businesses and farms as well as the locations of the borrowers. New CRA rules, adopted in April, begin phasing in Jan. 1 when data collection is slated to start. However, banks are not required to report the information to regulators until March 1997. The agencies are providing software to banks so that data collection will be uniform. But banks will not receive the software until mid- December, giving them just two weeks to train employees and format computers, the Consumer Bankers Association argued. "It's not difficult getting the information; it's just that it's new information to track," said CBA president Joe Belew. "And if you don't get the tracking right ... you risk being not in compliance." The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council will meet by Friday to discuss the CBA's request, said Paul Sachtleben, director of compliance and consumer affairs at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "Agencies know data collection the first year is not always pristine," he said. "What we'll be looking for mainly is a good-faith effort on banks' part." Regulators at the other agencies were in Atlanta on Wednesday at a CRA examiner training session and unavailable for comment.
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