The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced its first civil money penalties Monday for violations of data collection and reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Two banks owned by Amcore Financial Inc. of Rockford, Ill., paid $3,000 each in fines for filing erroneous HMDA reports. Compliance examiners found last year that Amcore's bank based in Rockford had a 70% error rate and its Dixon, Ill.-based bank had a 47% error rate in their 1996 HMDA reports, according to the OCC.

James F. Warsaw, president of Amcore Bank, Rockford, said the mistakes were accidental and that the banks did not break any fair-lending laws. "These were misinterpretations of the transaction dates that are used in reporting loans for HMDA purposes," Mr. Warsaw said. "It had no impact on the customer."

A General Accounting Office report in August 1996 criticized federal regulators for being too soft on HMDA violators and noted that inaccurate HMDA reports were interfering with enforcement of fair-lending laws. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 1994 fined six lenders for HMDA violations but has imposed no other fines since then.

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