The American Bankers Association is offering a comprehensive fair lending guide to its members.

The ABA Fair Lending Toolbox is designed to help all bankers -- from chief executives to front-line personnel -- understand important anti-discrimination rules.

Announced at the trade group's annual convention this month in New York City, the guide will be available in mid-November.

It details what actions violate fair lending laws, gives tips on preparing for fair lending exams, and explains ways to improve communications with local community groups.

Fair lending issues addressed will include disparate treatment, disparate impact, and self-testing, which has become a controversial issue in the banking industry because many bankers are afraid regulators will use the results against them.

The toolbox also will help bankers with marketing and starting second-review programs for rejected loan applications.

ABA members will get one toolbox free, but additional copies cost $199.

In addition to the guidelines mentioned above, each toolbox includes a 14-minute video tailored to the bank's board of directors and senior management stressing the importance of fair lending issues.

The Boston Federal Reserve Bank's "Closing the Gap: A Guide to Equal Opportunity Lending" and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s "Side By Side: a Guide to Self-Testing" also are included.

This is the second of a series of ABA toolboxes to help bankers. The first toolbox, released in June, was a strategic planning guide for community bankers.

For information on the fair lending toolbox, call the ABA at 1-800-810-1144.

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