Federal regulators this week pledged to speed approvals for banks trying to customize their Community Reinvestment Act compliance.

When CRA rules were revamped in April 1995, a new option let banks set their own CRA requirements. Under the "strategic plan option," banks develop CRA goals, get comment from the public, and obtain regulators' approval. Once a plan is approved, a bank seeking an "outstanding" CRA rating is guaranteed that grade if it meets its own goals.

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