HMDA: The Fed said it would require banks to use the four-digit year when submitting Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Published Sept. 30. Effective March 31.

ELECTRONIC BANKING: The Fed said it would cut in half to 10 days the amount of time a bank may wait before providing consumers with provisional credit in point of sale transaction disputes. Published Sept. 29. Effective Sept. 24, with compliance optional until April 1.

EFT '99: Final rule from the Treasury Department regarding the switch to electronic delivery of most federal government payments. Published Sept. 25 and effective Jan. 2, the rule backed off an earlier plan that would have mandated direct deposit of Social Security and other federal benefits unless recipients obtained a waiver. Under pressure from lawmakers, the program was made voluntary. A separate proposal, long overdue, will prescribe the features of accounts that a federally insured financial institution may offer to benefits recipients.

MORTGAGE PROGRAM: The Federal Housing Finance Board on Sept. 23 voted to let all 12 regional Home Loan banks participate in the Mortgage Partnership Finance program and to raise its loan cap from $750 million to $9 billion. The pilot program gives lenders an alternative to selling mortgages in the secondary market.

SBA PROGRAMS: The Small Business Administration on Sept. 18 said it will expand two programs that provide federal guarantees on the smallest commercial loans. As of Oct. 1, the agency increased the loan ceiling on its "LowDoc" and "Fastrak" programs to $150,000 from $100,000 and expanded the "Fastrak" pilot program to at least 500 lenders.

STOCK BUYBACKS: The OTS on Sept. 15 announced that it was easing its stock repurchase policy. Under the revised policy, thrifts that recently converted from mutual to stockholder status may request permission to buy back up to 15% of their stock, provided that six months have passed since the conversion and that the stock is trading below the initial public offering price.

UNREALIZED GAINS: Bank and thrift regulators adopted a rule allowing financial institutions to count 45% of unrealized equity investment gains toward their Tier 2 risk-based capital. The rule mirrors a provision in the 1998 Basel Accord. Published Sept. 1 and effective Oct. 1.

FASTER APPLICATIONS: The FDIC ordered the expedited processing of merger, branch, and deposit insurance applications submitted by well- capitalized, well-managed institutions. Published Aug. 20. Effective Oct. 1.

REINSURANCE: The OCC decided on Aug. 14 to let Mellon Bank sell reinsurance on loans that the bank services, even if the loans were originated or are owned by another institution. The decision means that other national banks may do the same.

REVERSE REPOS: The OTS barred thrifts from entering reverse repurchase agreements with nonbank affiliates. The agency said reverse repos are extensions of credit, and thrifts are prohibited from lending to nonbank affiliates. Published Aug. 13. Effective Oct. 1.

SERVICING ASSETS: Federal banking regulators doubled to 100% the amount of servicing assets-including purchased credit card relationships-that banks and thrifts may count as Tier 1 capital. Purchased credit card relationships and non-mortgage-servicing assets may make up no more than 25% of Tier 1 capital, and all servicing assets must be discounted by 10%. Published Aug. 10. Effective Oct. 1.

ARMs: The OTS adopted a final rule, identical to the Fed's Regulation Z, to simplify disclosure requirements for adjustable-rate mortgages. Published July 17. Effective Oct. 1.

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