WASHINGTON - Reg relief, round two, is about to begin.
And when the bell sounds, the banking industry will be pounding away at consumer regulations in general and the Community Reinvestment Act in particular.
"I think it is quite possible that Congress will take a second look at CRA," said Edward L. Yingling, executive director for government relations at he American Bankers Association.
The ABA lobbyist said he doesn't expect Congress to repeal the reinvestment law. But he said it is possible legislator ll verhaul the measure dramatically.
Race and gender reporting equirements, which the industry opposes, is one likely target, he said.
Regulators take cues rom Congress, so early congressional action could have an impact on the bank supervisory agencies, which are now considering proposals to overhaul he way they enforce CRA aws,Mr.Yingling said.
He said his group hasn't come up with a lot of specific proposlas yet, but is soliciting members' views now and will develop the detils efore he start of the next cogressional ession.
"People on the Hill have told us to be very aggressive: in coming up with a regulatory elief agenda, he said. Other consumer regulations targeted by the banking industry include a proviision n the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act that requires regulators to refer banks to the Justice Department after one reported case of suspected lending discrimination.
Joe Belew, presiden f the Consumer Bankers Association, said his group will be asking the new Congress o examine that measure's fairness.
"If it's one file out of 500,000, should you refer it for criminal reasons to Justice?" Mr.Belew said. "I would look for a discussion as to whether we really need these referals, because they give you a black eye even if you're innocent."
The industry also hopes Congress will address unifying disclosure rules in the Consumer Leasing Act, Mr. Belew said. As was the case with Truth-in-Lending before it was simpliefid in 1980, lenders and consumers alike are confused by the multitude of different forms and disclosures involved with the act, which applies to vehicle and home appliance eases.
Finally, the industry will be seeking a fix for the Rodash ase, which permitted a borrower to rescind a loan made against her home because two closing costs were not properly disclosed n the settlement report. Mr. Belew said the CBA will ask Congress o shield lenders from suc "extraneous, hypertechincal disclosure infractions."
The industry has been made strong headway in rolling back the regulatory burden. Last year's community development bank law included more than 50 measures to cut red tape, and last month's Republican andslide has added to the momentum.
"The elections give us more options," said Mr. Yingling.
"It's very definitly ore hospitable environment," agreed Kenneth A. Guenther,executive vice president of the Independent Bankers Association of America.
"Since the Proxmire ears and going through the Reagan-"Bush era,we have had 15 years where respecitve Congresses ave piled regulations on top of banks," Mr. Guenther aid. Former Sen. William Proxmire,D-Wis., wrote the Community Reinvestment Act.
"It's time to look at ll he regulations they have in place and see what we can get rid of."
Two years ago, when the ABA launched round one, the industry and its regulatory relief agenda had little credibility on Capitol Hill. To compensate, the trade group signed up co-sponsors,one by one, until a majority in both the House and Senate ere n board.
"The chairmen of both the House and Senate banking committees were opposed, so we had to show support before we could get something moving," Mr. Yingling said. "We won't have to do that this time," he added.