WASHINGTON - President Clinton on Friday signed legislation that changes the way the federal government calculates subsidies for student loans, a move that lenders say will make it easier to manage their interest rate risk.Sallie Mae and lenders strongly supported the student loan provision, which ties federal subsidies to interest rates on commercial paper instead of to Treasury bill rates. The Education and Treasury departments opposed the amendment, saying it would yield lenders a windfall of as much as $1.7 billion. The measure will expire in three years.

The bill included tax relief for foreign subsidiaries of financial services companies. For the past two years, banks, securities firms, and insurance companies have been able to postpone taxes on some income from international units until the earnings are repatriated. The law will extend through 2001 the tax deferment, which was due to expire this month.

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