WASHINGTON -- Bank and thrift regulators seem to be tougher talkers than graders when it comes to Community Reinvestment Act examinations.

During the first half of this year, 93% of CRA ratings released by the four federal regulators were "outstanding" or "satisfactory" - the top two of the four grades.

Only 10 of the 2,606 lenders, or 0.4%, got the lowest score, "substantial noncompliance."

1% Receive Lowest Rating

In 1992, 90% were outstanding or satisfactory, and 58 of 5,602 institutions examined, about 1%, got the worst rating.

The compilation was done by CRA/HMDA Update, a Bethesda, Md., newsletter.

Each agency's CRA ratings improved in the first six months of 1993. The FDIC gave out the highest grades, awarding "outstandings" or "satisfactories" to 95% of the banks it examined.

Also in those categories were 92% of banks examined by the Federal Reserve and 90% of those regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Office of Thrift Supervision gave the top two grades to 87% of the 358 thrifts it examined, and none was in "substantial noncompliance."

Ratings were highest in Wisconsin and Iowa, with 99% of lenders in the top two groups. The lowest were in Maryland, were 35% received one of the two lowest CRA grades, and New Jersey, with 27% in those categories.

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