Lenders need to be more diligent than ever in keeping abreast of their loan activities, mostly because starting this summer anyone with a modem and an interest has easy access to HMDA data--including housing activist groups that will have even more ammunition for pointing fingers and blowing whistles.

Even if '93 HMDA data is not available this summer as is rumored, starting in July the numbers from 1992 will be accessible on-line through the efforts of Essential Information, said Jonathan Brown, director of the banking research project. "You need a modem and have to have access through some other local network such as Compuserve or PeaceNet," he said. If you are connected, then, according to Brown, nonprofit groups, the media, financial consultants, academicians and anyone who is engaged in fair-lending monitoring can have access to information that in the past was not accessible and difficult to decipher.

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