The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday extended to Feb. 1 the comment period on a proposal to ease the year-2000 burden on some banks involved in mergers.

The proposal would let banks that merge from July 1998 through May 1999 operate their computer systems separately until June 1, 2000. Normally, banks must modify their systems within a year of a merger.

The Fed said it is concerned that banks might divert employees from year-2000 fixes in order to meet the one-year deadline for updating software.

The central bank also replaced seven members of its Thrift Advisory Council, which meets with the Fed's board of governors three times a year to discuss the thrift and credit union industries.

New members are: James C. Blaine, president of State Employees' Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C.; Lawrence L. Boudreaux 3d, president of Fidelity Homestead Association in New Orleans; Babette E. Heimbuch, president of First Federal Bank of California in Santa Monica; Thomas S. Johnson, chairman of GreenPoint Bank in New York; William A. Longbrake, chief financial officer of Washington Mutual Bank in Seattle; Kathleen E. Marinangel, chairman of McHenry (Ill.) Savings Bank; and Anthony J. Popp, president of Marietta (Ohio) Savings Bank.

The Fed also named William A. Fitzgerald, chairman of Commercial Federal Bank in Omaha, to be president of the council. F. Weller Meyer, president of Acacia Federal Savings Bank in Falls Church, Va., is to be vice president of the council.

All the appointments take effect Jan. 1.

Separately, the Fed has published a list of foreign bank branches in the United States and their asset sizes.

Branches are listed by bank name, home country, and U.S. state where the branch is based. The list is available at www.federalreserve.gov.

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