ELECTRONIC BENEFITS: The Treasury Department is expected by late September to issue a final regulation on making most federal government payments electronically by 1999. In late June agency officials said they would make direct deposit voluntary for those who receive Social Security and other federal benefits. Separately, the Treasury is expected this fall to propose rules on accounts that banks may offer under contract with the government to recipients who lack bank accounts. Banks will be required to offer four free monthly withdrawals and be allowed to charge a small monthly fee.
MONEY LAUNDERING: Know-your-customer rules are still in the works, although no release date has been set. The long-awaited regulation would explain how federal financial institutions should verify the identity of their customers. Regulators have been working on the rules, which are meant to deter money launderers, since May 1996.