It's not uncommon for a bank to shout about a stellar regulatory rating that it wins for its community lending activities. It's quite another thing for a bank to advertise a low score.

But Puget Sound National Bank of Tacoma, Wash., issued a press release last week announcing that it received a grade of "needs to improve" under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which mandates that banks make loans and other commitments to low-income communities.

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