Must Call Reports Be Electronic?

Regulators Propose Mandatory Change in 3 Years

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have proposed a three-year timetable for requiring all commercial banks to file call reports electronically.

The change would affect the 73% of the nation's 13,000 commercial banks that don't already file these reports by wire. These institutions currently file call reports on paper or on computer-generated facsimiles.

First Deadline Next March

Many banks would have to invest in computer equipment and software as early as next March to comply with the rule if it is adopted.

But they would save up to six hours a quarter in preparing the reports, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council said in a Federal Register notice outlining the proposal.

Schedule for Switchover

Under the plan, banks with assets of $100 million or more would have to switch to electronic submissions by March 31.

Banks with $50 million or more in assets would have to comply one year later, and all other banks would have to file electronically starting March 31, 1994.

Banks with less than $100 million in assets would have to spend an average of $400 to $500 a year on software, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council said.

But after learning the new system, community banks should find the time savings to be worth about $300 per year on average.

The Examination Council didn't calculate how much, if anything, large banks would save.

Banks regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve Board would have to make the switch. The Examination Council is soliciting comments through Nov. 18.

The agency said 27% of all banks - including 1% of those under $100 million in assets -- already file electronically.

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