WASHINGTON - On Friday, for the first time, the government will collect deposit insurance premiums by quarterly debit.

In addition, bankers will begin reporting more information about their derivatives activities via the March 31 quarterly call report.

No longer will bankers mail the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. a check.

The new assessment process lets the FDIC collect premiums by direct debit through the automated clearing house network. Banks will designate a deposit account to be electronically debited.

The semiannual premiums will now be paid in quarterly installments based on an invoice prepared by the FDIC. Under the new system, assessment amounts will be calculated by the FDIC rather than the bank.

The agency is aiming to improve the accuracy of computations and lessen banks' burden. The FDIC will use banks' call reports to determine premium amounts.

The first-quarter call reports have been expanded to broaden disclosures on derivatives activities.

Banks will report the amount of nonperforming derivative contracts and replacement costs for all derivatives held in their trading accounts.

Regulators have said they will use the information to determine how much banks are earning on derivatives and to identify sources of profit.

The ultimate goal is to understand how much risk derivatives activities pose to the banking industry.

Although they may look burdensome, the new requirements will actually help bankers avoid losses, according to Judi Weikel, a senior consultant for Professional Bank Services, Louisville, Ky., which coaches banks on preparing call reports.

"This information provides an early warning system," Ms. Weikel said.

Banks should prepare for more changes in call reports, Ms. Weikel said. In part, that's because technology will enable bankers to gain access to more information, she said, and regulators will be able to ask for more.

The good news, she said, is that the information will focus less on mathematical equations and more on data that will help banks do business.

For now, banks ought already to have the data the regulators are requiring. "Banks should have the information in order to accurately assess the risk in their investment portfolios," Ms. Weikel said.

The call reports due Friday also will include for the first time information responding to Financial Accounting Standard 114, which covers impaired loans.

Allowances for credit losses on impaired loans reported under FAS 114 are now considered general rather than specific reserves. That means they can be included in Tier 2 capital as part of the allowance for loan and lease losses.

Bankers are responsible for ensuring that the overall allowance for loan and lease losses is adequate to cover all estimated credit losses in the loan portfolio.

While adding call report requirements, the government also dropped some reporting demands.

Banks will no longer have to include the amount of total risk-based capital and average loans to states and political subdivisions. They will also report less information on restructured loans and leases.

The call report changes were proposed by the banking agencies last March and were adopted Feb. 27 by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

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