WASHINGTON - President Clinton on Wednesday signed into law the American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 2000, a catch-all package of banking and housing measures.

The new law contains about 20 regulatory relief provisions for banks and thrifts, including one that repeals a requirement that at least 4% of a thrift's assets be easily liquidated. It also gives national banks more flexibility in electing a board of directors by allowing staggered terms of up to three years. Under previous law, national bank directors were elected simultaneously for one-year terms.

The act also extends a deadline for new capital rules at the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks by six months, to May 2001.

Other provisions reinstate 45 federal banking and housing regulatory reports to Congress, including the Federal Reserve Board's annual survey of bank fees. The Fed chairman is still required to testify on the state of the economy at least twice a year, once before the House Banking Committee and once before the Senate Banking Committee.

The law also gives Fed officials a raise - the chairman's annual salary rises $15,700, to $157,000 - and allows the central bank to purchase a third office building here.

The act's housing provisions include a clarification of a 1998 law to make it easier for homeowners to cancel private mortgage insurance.

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