Federal banking and thrift regulators on Monday permanently expanded to $250 million the asset size of well-managed institutions eligible for less frequent exams.

The rule, effective immediately, permits regulators to review banks with Camels 1 or 2 ratings every 18 months, instead of every 12 months. Regulators adopted a nearly identical interim rule in February 1997. Before the interim rule, only banks with less than $100 million of assets were eligible for the 18-month exam cycle.

Congress gave regulators authority in 1994 to expand the asset size for less frequent exams.

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