While moving to ease the paperwork and capital burden imposed by the large amounts of troubled real estate loans and tougher laws, the agencies at the same time announced tough new initiatives to root out discriminatory lending practices.

These include creation of an improved consumer complaint program by each regulator, fair lending training for examiners and sponsorship of a fair lending seminar for industry officials.

Moreover, the agencies said they are working on a revised supervisory enforcement policy for dealing with fair housing and equal credit opportunity laws that will replace a policy issued in 1981.

Each agency will also implement its own internal system for making referrals to the Department of justice for violations of equal credit and fair lending laws. That means lower-level officials will be able to create a paper trail of complaints about potential violations that will make it difficult for upper management to pigeonhole the complaints.

Everybody recognizes that we need to ensure that everyone has equal access to home ownership opportunities," said Brian Chappelle of the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Our goals are in concert."

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