LOAN CHARGEOFFS: The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council dropped a controversial plan to require banks to write off all bad loans within 150 days. Instead, regulators will retain the 120-day writeoff period for closed-end loans and the 180-day period for open-end loans. Regulators also revised several minor chargeoff policies. Published Feb. 10. Effective for the June 30 call report.

SECURITIZATION: The Small Business Administration issued a final rule allowing banks to securitize the nonguaranteed portion of 7(a) loans if they retain a portion of the credit. Published Feb. 10. Effective April 12.

DERIVATIVES: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Jan. 25 issued guidelines for banks that trade derivatives. The agency warned banks to stress-test their trading portfolios to determine how they would perform during wild swings in the capital markets. The Fed on Jan. 29 and the Basel Committee on Feb. 2 followed with similar guidelines for banks that lend to hedge funds.

TECHNOLOGY EXAMS: The Exam Council adopted a uniform system for rating the safety and soundness of financial institutions' information technology. The new system is modeled on Camels. Published Jan. 20. Effective April 1.

DIVIDENDS: The OTS ruled that healthy thrifts do not need the agency's permission before paying out dividends. Published Jan. 19. Effective April 1.

OTS FEES: The OTS reduced fees for healthy, traditional thrifts but imposed a base fee of $1,250 for all institutions. The agency also raised fees on thrifts with large trust or other complex activities. Published Nov. 30. Effective Jan. 1.

SETTLEMENT SERVICES: The Fed introduced a fully automated settlement service that completes payments the day they are made without requiring participating banks to initiate Fed Wire transfers. Published Nov. 3. Effective March 29.

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