WASHINGTON - Most bankers give Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. examiners high marks on how well they communicate and what they focus on, according to a survey by the agency.

But a sizable minority want shorter examinations and smaller exam teams.

As result, the agency is looking for ways to reduce on-site exam time and has told field supervisors to review how they assign examiners, the FDIC's acting director of supervision said in a letter to bank chief executives.

In the letter, Nicholas J. Ketcha Jr. also said the agency had told examiners to give bankers at least two weeks' notice of an upcoming exam.

In March, the FDIC began surveying bankers after their exams. The polling, similar to recent efforts by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision, will continue through next March.

The agency so far has tallied results from the 455 questionnaires returned through July 31. They found that:

*95% of bankers said examiners focused on the appropriate risk areas.

*95% said examiners maintained adequate communication with bank management throughout the examination.

*93% said examiners were adequately trained and informed of banking issues.

*91% said the exam report objectively documented their institution's overall condition, risks, and prospects.

*86% said the exam team was the appropriate size.

*74% said the exam length was appropriate.

*77% opposed enlarging the exam team in order to shorten exam time.

*65% preferred piggybacking compliance exams onto safety-and-soundness exams.

In his letter, Mr. Ketcha said his department is reviewing its procedures "for the purpose of identifying those examination functions which can be performed outside of the bank."

What this will mean, said Robert F. Miailovich, an FDIC associate director of supervision, is more use of computer files and less reliance on paper files.

"The most meaningful thing we are working on," he said, "is a program where we could download certain bank records, particularly loan files, and we could do a lot of our loan analysis back at the office instead of sitting at the bank."

A stumbling block, Mr. Miailovich said, is the fact that banks now keep their data in widely varying computer formats. The FDIC is working with banks, data processing companies, and the other banking agencies to come up with standardized formats.

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