WASHINGTON - Bank and thrift regulators announced Monday they will hold a public hearing next week to discuss reforming the Community Reinvestment Act.

Next Tuesday, bankers, community activists, and others concerned about banks' responsibilities to their neighborhoods will sound off before Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig, Federal Reserve Board governor Lawrence Lindsey, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. acting Chairman Andrew Hove, and Office of Thrift Supervision Jonathan Fiechter, acting director.

The meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the OTS's Washington headquarters.

Hearings Around the Country

The forum will be the first of a series of hearings set for August and September around the country. Prior to these public meetings, these regulators plan private, separate meetings with banking trade groups and consumer groups. The banking leaders are scheduled to meet with the four top regulators Aug. 5 and the consumer group officials Aug. 6.

These meetings mark the first phase of the agencies' initiative to reform CRA, as directed by President Clinton last month.

Mr. Clinton gave the regulators until Jan. 1 to rewrite the rules, and told them to consult with the public before making any changes.

Regulators want ideas on improving CRA to make it clearer and more objective. They also are interested in whether differences between banks and thrifts should be taken into account in measuring CRA performance. Another concern is increasing the volume of banking services to residents of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

The regulators have asked anyone interested in participating in the Washington hearing to call the OCC's Pamela Mount at 202-874-4446 by Friday.

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