WASHINGTON - In mid-1998, federal regulators cited more than 1,000 banks and thrifts for year-2000 problems, but today they can count the nation's Y2K stragglers on one hand.

At present, only five banks - and no thrifts - are rated "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" for their efforts to prepare computer hardware and software for the new year. That compares with 1,046 banks and thrifts as of May 31, 1998. The number is expected to shrink even further when the FDIC updates its Y2K problem list later this week.

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