The New York State Banking Department on Thursday proposed letting banks self-certify equity investments that benefit the public.

The proposal would excuse banks and trust companies chartered in New York from filing applications to buy stock in corporations, provided that the investments back affordable housing, jobs for poor residents, or other community projects. National banks already have this power.

"This amendment has the dual result of eliminating burdens on banks and trust companies, while at the same time encouraging increased investment activities beneficial to low- and moderate-income areas and individuals," acting Superintendent Elizabeth McCaul said.

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