WASHINGTON - The Farm Credit Administration could decide as early as Thursday to postpone its plan to grant national charters, which banks complain would give the tax-exempt lenders that the agency supervises a competitive advantage.

The agency had intended to start issuing approvals Jan. 1, but its two-member board is scheduled Thursday to hear staff recommendations whether the agency should undergo a formal rulemaking process before allowing Farm Credit lenders to expand into new territories.

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