Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-N.Y., introduced legislation Thursday that would increase pressure on merging financial institutions to live up to their Community Reinvestment Act pledges.

Under the bill, federal banking regulators would have to develop examination procedures to monitor compliance with CRA pledges made by financial institutions. Regulators would have to publicly disclose when banks fail to live up to their commitments.

Also, the agencies would be authorized to take an institution's compliance record into account when considering later mergers or other applications. The bill includes no other enforcement provisions.

"The community investment pledges that we are now routinely seeing cannot and will not be measured or monitored over time," said Rep. LaFalce, the senior Democrat on the House Banking Committee. "But they must be if they are to be more than empty promises."

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