The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is urging national banks to help borrowers in western and midwestern states affected by flooding and ice storms.

In a bulletin posted on the agency's Internet site and mailed to institutions, bankers are asked to extend loan repayment terms and to ease loan origination and underwriting standards for new loans to borrowers affected by the harsh weather.

Examiners will not criticize bankers who adjust loan terms for these borrowers, the OCC said. The OCC's Internet site is http://www.occ.treas.gov.

The OTS issued a similar bulletin to thrift executives in the West last week, urging them to waive charges for late payments and early withdrawals. The agency also urged thrifts to inform their customers about disaster- relief programs.

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