WASHINGTON - Responding to concerns raised by legislators, the Treasury Department, and the General Accounting Office, the Farm Credit Administration has shelved a plan to grant national charters to Farm Credit lenders until the proposal undergoes a formal rulemaking process.

The Farm Credit Administration, which governs the nation's 158 Farm Credit lenders, had planned to begin issuing approvals on Jan. 1, 2000, to allow lenders to expand into new territories. But the two-person board ruled Thursday that the plan will first be open to public comment.

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