The Michigan Bankers Association hopes to get a jump on regulators.

It has begun the MBA Examination Hot Line, a tip-gathering service for the latest questions examiners have posed to bankers.

Bankers complete questionnaires immediately after a review, detailing what interested examiners. The trade group then publishes the forms in its newsletter, Regulatory Alert.

Small banks will benefit the most from the program, said Eric Durham, chairman of the Michigan Bankers Association's compliance committee.

"Larger banks talk back and forth about these things all the time, but many small banks don't have that kind of access," said Mr. Durham, also the director of compliance at First of America Bank in Kalamazoo, Mich. "This is a heads-up for them."

The trade group surveyed members Jan. 22, asking for the name of their regulator. The bankers described problems examiners focused on, recommended solutions, and the bank's reaction.

The program appears to be a hit. Two days after mailing the first forms, the group got back its first completed survey.

The trade group does want details. But Michigan Bankers spokesman Lawrence J. Sauter said any advice should not be too specific. If an examiner seemed more concerned about disparate treatment or whether the institution has an anti-tying policy, the trade group wants to know. But specific documents from the exam and information about individual customers should not be handed over to the trade group, he said.

Regulators have signed off on the program, according to Mr. Sauter.

Michigan Bankers also will have its compliance committee, made up of officers from larger banks around the state, make sure the submissions are legal. It also will try to determine if an examiner's focus was merely specific to one institution.

"We don't want overreaction," Mr. Sauter said. "We're concerned because we don't want banks spending 10 hours on a specific question because of a tip from us, when it was just specific to one bank."

The Michigan group based the program on a similar effort by the Oklahoma Bankers Association.

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