WASHINGTON -- A House Banking Committee report has accused the bank regulatory agencies of failing to "live up to the letter of the law" in hiring women and minorities.

Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, DTex., the committee chairman, said hiring disparities "adversely affect the day-to-day decisionmaking in the agencies, particularly the enforcement of laws mandating equal access to credit and financial services for all creditworthy customers."

Rep. Gonzalez has scheduled a hearing for today to examine the agencies' hiring records.

Annunzio Fires a Salvo, Too

Meanwhile, federal bank regulators also came under fire from Rep. Frank Annunzio, D-Ill. chairman of the banking committee's financial institutions subcommittee, for their record in collecting fines from institutions they regulate.

Rep. Annunzio said a report by the Office of Management and Budget shows that 97% of the $17.5 million in civil penalties owed to the three bank agencies have gone uncollected. Some of the fines have been owed for years, he said.

By contrast, the Office of Thrift Supervision has collected virtually all the money owed it, he said.

Some Do Well in Hiring

In hiring practices, some agencies do better than others, Rep. Gonzalcz said.

The Federal Housing Finance Board, for example, has hired minority group members and women for 33% of its executivelevel jobs.

He contrasted that with the situation at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., where he said women and minorities hold 18% of the executive-level positions but 90% of jobs in the four lowest grades.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency acknowledged that the agency needs to improve its hiring record for top posts.

However, she said, minority representation in the agency closely mirrors the civilian labor force.

A spokeswoman for the FDIC declined to comment, saying the agency had not received the Gonzalez report.

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