Bank chief executives continue to rank community reinvestment and fair- lending rules as well as borrower disclosures among their top compliance headaches.
In a survey released this week by KPMG Peat Marwick, bank executives also predicted that regulatory attention to mutual funds, annuities, and derivatives will grow over the next three years.
To find out what's on potential customers' minds, Peat Marwick sent questionnaires to 1,311 bankers in January. The survey, which focused on regulatory issues and industry trends, drew responses from 660.
The impressive 50% response rate showed that CEOs care about more than the bottom line, according to Steven Roberts, the partner in charge of the accounting firm's regulatory advisory practice.
"These are not just compliance issues, these are business issues," Mr. Roberts said in an interview. "CEOs are much more interested in regulatory issues than people give them credit for."
Bankers said Congress must step in to relieve regulatory burden. Executives agreed lawmakers should start by reviewing the Community Reinvestment Act. Almost all respondents - 91% of bank CEOs - chose CRA as their first priority for reform. Still, 96% said CRA should be extended to nonbank financial service companies.
Although more than half of the CEOs said the coming new CRA rules will not affect their ratings, one-third of the bankers expect the regulations will hurt their grade.
Eight of 10 CEOs reported they have reviewed fair-lending policies and procedures for discrimination. Only 23%, however, have tested their bank by using mystery shoppers, and 43% have done a quantitative analysis of application and loan files.
Respondents reaffirmed the view that mutual funds will become a major compliance issue in the future.
Half said they already sell mutual funds, and the number is growing. Two of five banks that don't currently sell the product plan to in the next few years, the survey found.
"In three years, almost every bank will be a seller of mutual funds," said Mr. Roberts.
That said, 56% said they were only somewhat satisfied with their bank's compliance with mutual fund requirements.
More than half the bankers polled said mutual funds sales pose significant risks. Concerns cited include market fluctuations, compliance monitoring, and judging whether the investment is right for a particular customer.
The Peat Marwick survey found that half the respondents are selling derivatives, another growing area of regulatory concern. Surprisingly, 28% of CEOs said their boards of directors have not approved risk limits for their institutions.