In an effort to free up examiners for more year-2000 oversight, the National Credit Union Administration is temporarily reducing the frequency of its safety-and-soundness exams.

NCUA regional directors now may extend the exam cycle of federal credit unions from 12 months to 18 months, provided the institutions have recent Camel ratings of 1 or 2 and at least $5 million of assets. The exam cycle is expected to return to normal in June 1999. The policy will permit the agency to conduct year-2000 exams of every federal credit union by the end of this year, the agency said.

The General Accounting Office in October criticized the NCUA's year-2000 efforts, saying it did not have enough examiners on the job.

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