Open for Commment
HOME LOAN BANKS: Proposal by the Federal Housing Finance Board to change the capital structure and investment management of the 12 Federal Home Loan banks. Published in the Federal Register Sept. 27. Comments due Dec. 27.
RECEIVERSHIP ASSETS: Proposal by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to prohibit the agency -- when acting as receiver or conservator -- from recovering financial assets transferred by the failed institution as part of a securitization or participation. For the prohibition to apply, such transfers would have to meet all conditions for sale accounting under generally accepted accounting principles. Published Sept. 21. Comments due Dec. 20.
ASSET PURCHASES: Proposal by the FDIC to bar people who profited from, or helped cause, the failure of a bank or thrift from buying that institution's assets. In some cases, prohibitions would also apply to people who have defaulted on loans or been convicted of financial crimes. Published Sept. 21. Comments due Dec. 20.
MERGER ACCOUNTING: Proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to eliminate the pooling-of-interests method of M&A accounting. Public hearings are expected in the first quarter, and a final standard could be issued late next year. An interim draft approved April 21 suggested requiring merging parties to use "purchase" accounting. Released Sept. 8. A copy is available on FASB's Web site at www.fasb.org. Comments due Dec. 7.
INSURANCE PREMIUMS: Proposal by the FDIC to reduce to 15 days, from 30, the time a bank is given to pay its deposit insurance premium after being billed. Proposal also would triple, to 90 days, the time a bank or thrift has to request a review of its premium assessment. Published Sept. 8. Comments due Oct. 25.
REG B: Proposal by the Federal Reserve Board to let lenders collect race and gender data on more borrowers. Published Aug. 16. Comments due Nov. 10.
ELECTRONIC DISCLOSURES: Interim rule by the Fed to let banks send savings account statements electronically, effective Sept. 1. Proposal to let banks make consumer protection disclosures on-line to borrowers revised by the Fed. Published Sept. 14. Comments due Oct. 29.
BASEL PAPERS: The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision issued three proposals, covering principles for managing and disclosing capital risk, best practices for credit risk disclosure, and guidelines for managing settlement risk in foreign exchange transactions. Released July 27. A copy is available on the Bank for International Settlements' Web site at www.bis.org. Comments due Nov. 30.
CAPITAL RULES: Proposal by the Basel committee to update the 1988 international risk-based capital accords. Rather than basing capital requirements on the type of asset a bank holds, capital would be based on the riskiness of the bank's borrowers as determined by a rating agency such as Standard & Poor's. Released June 3. A copy is available on the Bank for International Settlements' Web site at www.bis.org. Comments due March 31.
FANNIE/FREDDIE CAPITAL: Proposal by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight to create risk-based capital standards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Published April 13. Comment deadline extended three months, to Nov. 11. Recent Actions
HOME LOAN BANKS: The Finance board voted Oct. 4 to give Home Loan Banks more options in how they may structure risk-sharing mortgage pools with member banks and thrifts. Separately, it adopted a rule requiring Home Loan banks to certify quarterly that they are able to pay their share of principal and interest on the system's outstanding bonds. Expected to be published soon and effective on that date.
COMPUTER CRIME: Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers unveiled an industry-owned facility Oct. 1 for sharing information on attacks or threats from computer hackers. Participating financial institutions can send anonymous warnings about suspicious activity they detect to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center in Reston, Va. The center will review alerts and issue instructions to all participants for preventing or resolving similar problems.
FAIR LENDING: The Department of Justice settled charges Sept. 29 that Deposit Guaranty National Bank overrode credit scores in favor of white loan applicants and discriminated against African-Americans seeking home improvement loans. The Jackson, Miss., bank, now a subsidiary of Birmingham, Ala.-based Amsouth Bancorp., agreed to pay $3 million in damages to an estimated 250 applicants.
AUDITS URGED: The Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council urged banks with less than $500 million of assets to adopt external auditing programs in the interest of ensuring "accurate and reliable financial reporting." Published Sept. 28. Effective Jan. 1.
Y2K BALANCE SHEETS: The four federal bank and thrift regulators issued a statement Sept. 28 urging financial institutions to be prepared for unusually large deposit inflows and/or credit demand prior to the year-2000 rollover. Banks that anticipate a temporary decline in regulatory capital ratios should contact their primary supervisor ahead of time.
INTERLOCKS: The four federal bank and thrift regulators published a rule easing restrictions on the sharing of officers and directors by unaffiliated institutions. For instance, size thresholds are raised so officials are limited to serving at one institution with less than $2.5 billion of assets and another with less than $1.5 billion of assets. Published Sept. 24. Effective Jan. 1.
MONEY LAUNDERING: The Treasury and Justice departments plan steps to heighten scrutiny of the banking industry as part of the federal government's new anti-money-laundering strategy. Under the plan unveiled Sept. 23, banking regulators and law enforcement authorities by yearend will form a working group to review how banks oversee high-risk accounts and offer guidelines to weed out suspicious accounts. Another panel will develop guidelines for accountants hired by banks to ensure they are not being used to launder money. Banking regulators will work into the spring studying the adequacy of exam procedures for reviewing institutions' controls against money launderers. Among other plans, Treasury and foreign officials will cooperate on capital rules that would raise the cost of loans made in countries that harbor criminals.
PROJECT CANARY: Mr. Hawke unveiled the OCC's Project Canary in a speech Sept. 23. It is intended to give national bank examiners more advanced predictive tools, in order to "add credibility" to their warnings when they alert bank executives to potential problems.
Y2K BACKUP: The FDIC on Sept. 9 issued a final rule requiring banks unprepared for the year-2000 rollover to make digital copies of account data beginning Dec. 24. This affects banks with less than "satisfactory" Y2K compliance ratings as of July 31. Published and effective Sept. 17.
COMPLAINT SHARING: The OCC announced Sept. 15 it had agreed to share insurance complaints with seven more state insurance regulators, bringing the total to 16. State regulators will continue to investigate individual agents, and the OCC will handle matters at national banks. The additional states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, and West Virginia. Action Expected Soon
CREDIT REPORTING: Bank and thrift regulators are working on joint guidelines urging subprime lenders to report positive borrower payment histories to credit bureaus. Separately, the OCC has been discussing the credit reporting issue with the Federal Trade Commission.
THRIFT RULE: The Office of Thrift Supervision is expected to issue a rule by yearend to clarify when a unitary thrift holding company may own more than one thrift but still engage in nonfinancial activities.
SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is expected soon to propose a rule requiring securities brokers and dealers to report suspicious transactions by customers.
LOAN POOLING: The Small Business Administration is expected to propose a rule soon that would let several lenders pool and sell the nonguaranteed portions of their 7a loans.