TRUTH-IN-LENDING: The Fed adjusted for inflation the dollar amount of fees and points that trigger additional Truth-in-Lending Act disclosures. Lenders must make the extra disclosures if fees and points exceed the greater of $441 or 8% of the loan's value. Published Dec. 2. Effective Jan. 1.
DERIVATIVES: The Office of Thrift Supervision approved a rule permitting thrifts to invest in derivatives, provided the transactions are legal and meet safety-and-soundness standards. The rule also required boards of directors to draft written derivatives policies and periodically check to make sure they are being honored. Published Dec. 1. Effective Jan. 1, but a thrift may choose to comply as early as Dec. 1.
CONVICTS: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. amended its policy on financial institutions' right to hire people who have been convicted of crimes. Though banks still must seek approval from the FDIC, job applicants with only one conviction who served no jail time may, under certain circumstances, be hired. Published and effective Dec. 1.
ELECTRONIC COMMERCE: The OTS approved a rule that will make it easier for thrifts to engage in electronic commerce. The policy states that thrifts may do anything electronically that they already do by traditional means. However, they must notify the agency 30 days before launching a transactional Web site. Published Nov. 30. Effective Jan. 1.
LOAN LOSSES: Bank and thrift regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 24 issued a joint statement on how banks should determine the proper amount of loan-loss reserves to hold. The statement was an attempt to balance the need for reserves with the SEC's concern that some banks are stockpiling reserves during boom times in order to boost profits during economic downturns.
CREDIT LETTERS: The Federal Housing Finance Board approved a rule that makes it easier for the 12 Home Loan banks to issue standby letters of credit to banks and thrifts. Published Nov. 30. Effective Dec. 30.
FED SERVICES: The Fed on Nov. 4 notified banks that it would cut the cost of its electronic payment services by an average of 17.5%. The biggest savings will be for Fed Wire fund transfers, the cost of which will drop by an average of 30%. Effective for most services on Jan. 4.
STATE BANKS: The FDIC approved a rule making it easier for state- chartered banks and thrifts to enter lines of business that national banks may not do directly, such as real estate development or securities underwriting. Most applications filed by healthy state banks will be approved within 30 days. Published Dec. 1. Effective Jan. 1.
BROKER-DEALERS: The SEC approved a new classification for broker-dealers active in over-the-counter derivatives. Capital requirements under the new category will be far less stringent than those imposed on derivatives booked overseas. Published Nov. 3. Effective Jan. 4.
INTERNATIONAL LOANS: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved a rule that will simplify the procedure national banks use to account for fees on national loans. The rule requires banks to use generally accepted accounting principles. Published Oct. 26. Effective Jan. 1.