Credit unions are not preparing for a Jan. 1 deadline for complying with Truth-in-Savings, according to an industry trade group.

Tim Pryor, director of regulatory compliance for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said part of the problem is that credit unions are expecting software vendors to do the work for them.

"Regulatory compliance isn't something you can spoonfeed," said Mr. Pryor.

Many credit unions are just beginning to look at the rule, which was finalized in June 1993,

At the trade group's annual conference last month in Atlanta, Mr. Pryor asked a group of 60 people how many had started training for Truth-in-Savings compliance. One hand went up.

He said this would be a problem when credit unions are examined.

"When the National Credit Union Administration walks in the door, they'll want to see a training program," Mr. Pryor said.

Six steps should be taken to prepare for Truth-in-Savings: evaluate which accounts the regulation covers, find vendors who can help with compliance, prepare the necessary disclosures, train employees, write policies and procedures, and review advertising.

While many credit unions have written disclosures and reviewed advertising, very few have developed policies and procedures for compliance, according to Mr. Pryor.

Although most credit unions are depending on vendors to keep them in compliance, the vendors themselves are behind schedule, he said.

Because credit unions are treated somewhat differently than banks under Truth-in-Savings, it is taking computer companies longer to release software tailored to the industry, he said.

That's a problem that should be taken more seriously, Mr. Pryor said.

"If the credit union is not getting the software until October, it's going to be difficult for it to be ready by Jan. 1," he said.

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