The Clinton administration will explore expanding the low-income housing tax credit to include equity investments in small businesses, Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin said Thursday.

In response to a question at a community development conference sponsored by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Mr. Rubin said he found the idea "interesting," noting that it is similar to existing programs that encourage investments in enterprise zones.

"We will take it under advisement," he said.

Tax credit programs allow banks to deduct part of their investments in low-income areas from their taxable income. The program currently applies only to housing development.

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