implement, according to a General Accounting Office report released Tuesday. Inconsistent training of examiners, vague standards, insufficient information to assess compliance, and inadequate time allowed for CRA examinations were cited as potential problems by the congressional agency. However, the 111-page report did conclude that the new CRA rules, which go into effect Jan. 1, will reduce paperwork for banks. Revised Community Reinvestment Act regulations will focus examiners on lending results, the accounting office found. Democrats hailed this finding as proof that Congress has addressed the most pressing problem created by the CRA - excessive paperwork - and that further attempts to trim bank reporting requirements would reduce community lending efforts. "The new CRA regulations, written at the insistence of the Clinton administration, will vastly reduce the paperwork regulators have required from banks," said Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2d, D-Mass. This year Republicans proposed to exempt small institutions from CRA and cut other banks' reporting requirements. Those efforts were dropped in the face of a veto threat by President Clinton.
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