EFT ACCOUNTS: The Treasury is expected by April to issue a final rule on low-cost bank accounts for recipients of electronically delivered federal benefits. The rule will set standards for such accounts.
MERGERS: The Fed is expected this month to allow banks that merge between July 1998 and May 1999 to wait until June 1, 2000, to combine their computer systems. Normally, software changes must be instituted within one year of a merger.
BUSINESS LOANS: The National Credit Union Administration is expected to issue a final rule as early as mid-March that would limit credit union business loans. An interim final rule, published and effective Sept. 29, capped business lending at the lesser of 1.75 times net worth or 12.25% of total assets. Business loans of less than $50,000 were excluded from the cap.
HOME LOANS: The OCC is expected as early as March 1 to approve an interagency rule that could discourage the use of so-called 80-10-10 residential mortgages. Under the rule, financial institutions would have to hold 8% of the loan amount in capital reserves against both the 80% first mortgage and the 10% second mortgage. The three other bank and thrift regulators have already approved the rule.
CU CAPITAL: The NCUA is expected as early as May to issue a proposed rule that would create a prompt corrective action system for credit unions. To be considered well capitalized, a credit union would have to have a net worth of 7% of assets. The comment period for an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking closed Jan. 27.
AG LENDING: The OCC is expected to issue guidelines in the next several weeks on classifying certain types of agricultural loans in light of recent market swings.
RISK-BASED CAPITAL: The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is working on a plan that would create risk-based capital standards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The proposal must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget and then by Congress before being published for public comment. A draft version is currently under review at the OMB.
CRA GUIDELINES: The Exam Council is expected to issue revised guidelines, written in question-and-answer format, explaining how the Community Reinvestment Act will be applied to Internet banks and thrifts.
MONEY LAUNDERING: The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is expected to propose a rule during the first quarter requiring securities brokers and dealers to report suspicious transactions by customers. Fincen expects to approve a final rule by April that would require other nonbanks-such as check cashers and currency exchanges-to report suspicious customer activity.
PRIVACY: The OCC is expected to issue guidelines in the next several weeks on how to preserve customers' privacy. The guidelines, which would not be legally binding, are expected to suggest how banks should communicate privacy policies on their Web sites, and how they should comply with disclosure requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
FAILED BANKS: The FDIC this quarter is expected to issue a proposed rule that would prohibit people who helped cause the failure of a bank or thrift from buying that institution's assets.
CRA SURVEY: The OCC is mulling a plan to survey the 50 largest banks to find out if they are living up to their CRA pledges. If the agency decides to go ahead, it is expected to conduct the survey early this year.
FAIR-LENDING: The Exam Council is wrapping up guidelines on fair-lending compliance including details on how examiners will decide whether to search for pricing, underwriting, or marketing discrimination. It is expected to be issued this month and will take effect early this year.
SUBPRIME LENDING: The OCC is finalizing guidelines on subprime lending. The guidelines will urge banks to research the market before entering, prepare detailed business plans, and price credits based on risk, not by what competitors charge.
DEPOSIT INSURANCE: The FDIC is considering a plan to make healthy banks involved in risky investment strategies pay higher deposit insurance premiums. The plan could take effect as early as the second half of 1999. The policy is expected to focus on banks that have overall Camels ratings of 1 or 2 but management or asset quality ratings of 3 or worse.
LOAN POOLING: The SBA said it expects to propose a rule by summer that would let small banks pool and sell the nonguaranteed portions of their loans.