Lenders Promise Full Credit Bureau Reports

WASHINGTON - Under pressure from regulators, more than 400 lenders said Tuesday that they will no longer withhold data about borrowers from credit bureaus.Members of the American Financial Services Association - which represents consumer finance companies, credit card issuers, and other lenders - have agreed to voluntarily disclose broad information to credit bureaus that they had guarded from competitors. Among the types of data that would be shared are payment histories, lines of credit, and credit balances.

However, lenders may withhold information about individual accounts under "special circumstances," such as when they are involved in disputes with customers, the group said.

Federal officials have accused lenders of bending the law by selectively holding back information.

Concerns had also been raised that incomplete credit information poses a threat to the safety of the banking system. In particular, some lenders had been criticized for concealing good payment histories of subprime borrowers to prevent competitors from stealing their business.

"Our members recognize that competitive pressures, regardless of their intensity, do not justify withholding borrower data if the end result is detrimental to their customers," said Randy Lively, president and chief executive officer of AFSA.

The industry announcement coincided with a warning letter Tuesday from the five banking agencies to the heads of banks, thrifts, and credit unions nationwide.

Regulators urged the industry to report complete information, but in the meantime advised caution. "Institutions that do not modify their credit risk management processes to compensate for omitted data in credit bureau reports could inadvertently expose themselves to increased credit risk," the interagency letter said.

- Dean Anason

New Chairman Named For Farm Credit System

WASHINGTON - President Clinton has appointed Michael M. Reyna as the new chairman of the Farm Credit Administration, according to an announcement Tuesday.Mr. Reyna, a Farm Credit Administration board member, succeeds Marsha Pyle Martin, who died on Jan. 9 after a brief bout with cancer.

The Farm Credit Administration regulates the Farm Credit System, a government-sponsored group of lenders that makes loans to farmers, ranchers, and agriculture-related businesses. As chairman of the three-member board, Mr. Reyna, 43, will be responsible for policy making, regulation, and examination of the nearly 200 Farm Credit lenders.

Mr. Reyna joined the Farm Credit Administration in October 1998 as chairman of the agency's insurance division. Upon being named chairman of the board, Mr. Reyna stepped down as head of the insurance division.

Previously, Mr. Reyna was California director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development.

Ann Jorgensen is the second member of the Farm Credit Administration board.

The third seat, left vacant by Ms. Martin's death, has yet to be filled.

- Alan Kline

BB&T Completes Deal For Premier of Atlanta

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - BB&T Corp. said it has completed its $501 million acquisition of Premier Bancshares of Atlanta.The deal, accounted for as a pooling of interests, gives BB&T its third Georgia bank and the eighth-largest share of deposits in metropolitan Atlanta. Premier, with $2 billion of assets, had 32 branches in Atlanta and northern Georgia, and operated 10 mortgage banking offices through a subsidiary, Premier Lending. The names will change to BB&T when systems are converted in the third quarter, BB&T said Friday.

Three N.Y. Thrifts Rejoin Home Loan Bank System

NEW YORK - Three savings banks that withdrew from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York during a restructuring of the Home Loan bank system in 1989 have rejoined, the bank said Friday.Emigrant Savings Bank of New York City, Pioneer Savings Bank, Troy, N.Y., and Roslyn Savings Bank of Roslyn, N.Y., had been barred from rejoining the system for 10 years.

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