The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted Tuesday to approve a final rule implementing a law that FDIC Chairman Ricki Helfer asked Congress last year to repeal.

Ms. Helfer continued to criticize the statute, which requires the outside auditors of banks and thrifts to attest to the institutions' compliance with laws and regulations.

But she said the agency had no choice but to approve the regulation, adding: "We obviously expect all institutions to comply with laws and regulations regardless."

Ms. Helfer said the law makes outside accountants duplicate the work of bank examiners. Robert Miailovich, FDIC associate director of supervision, added that accountants have a hard time meeting the requirement "because they're not lawyers and not policemen."

The FDIC Tuesday also approved final rules restricting "golden parachute" agreements for executives of troubled banks and thrifts and implementing Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act restrictions on deposit-taking by foreign banks in the United States.

It was the first meeting for new board member Joseph Neely, a former banker and Mississippi banking commissioner - and the first FDIC board meeting since August 1992 with a full complement of five board members.

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