House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach on Monday criticized the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for falling behind on preparations for year-2000 computer problems.

"It now appears that the FDIC may not itself have met the standards it has set for financial institutions," he wrote in a letter to Andrew C. Hove Jr., the agency's acting chairman.

A Feb. 6 General Accounting Office report prepared for Rep. Leach said the FDIC has not identified all of its "mission-critical" computer systems that could be affected by the computer glitch. According to the FDIC's standards, banks were required to complete that step by last September.

Because of the delay, "the FDIC's ability to exercise leadership and enforce discipline among insured institutions could be undermined," Rep. Leach said.

The FDIC's year-2000 plans will be examined today during a hearing of Senate Banking's financial institutions subcommittee.

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