WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Board Gov. John P. LaWare said Monday that he will leave the central bank April 30, just days after the board is expected to vote on Community Reinvestment Act reform.

Officials at the Fed said Mr. LaWare, who plans to retire, will not participate in today's Federal Open Market Committee meeting. But he will participate in all other Fed meetings.

Banking officials said they are relieved that the former Shawmut National Corp. chairman will remain for the CRA vote.

"It bodes well for banks," said Jim McLaughlin, director of regulatory affairs at the American Bankers Association. "He's been a stalwart in opposing additional paperwork and regulatory burden on banks."

Mr. LaWare, who has served at the Fed since August 1988, urged President Clinton in his resignation letter to appoint a banker to fill his spot.

"The quality of board deliberations and decisions on banking matters is enhanced by the direct participation of a member with personal private- sector experience in banking," Mr. LaWare wrote.

Mr. McLaughlin said President Clinton should take Mr. LaWare's advice. "It makes sense to appoint another banker," he said. "That perspective is important."

Industry consultant Bert Ely, president of Ely & Co., said the short- term effects of the resignation should be minimal. "What will be more important is who replaces him," Mr. Ely said, noting that the replacement process will take months.

The resignation gives President Clinton the chance to name his third Fed member. He previously appointed vice chairman Alan Blinder and Gov. Janet Yellen, both economists.

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