REG B: The Fed finalized its staff commentary on Regulation B, which implements the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The commentary provides guidance on disparate treatment, special-purpose credit programs, credit scoring systems, and marital-status discrimination. Published in the Federal Register on June 7. FDIC/RTC: The FDIC released a policy statement assuring the financial markets that after taking over responsibility for failed thrifts from the Resolution Trust Corp., it will not repudiate collateralized letters of credit issued before Aug. 9, 1989, by insured institutions. The FDIC takes over the RTC thrifts on July 1. The statement was effective May 19 but explained in detail in the May 26 Federal Register. DEPOSIT INSURANCE: Starting July 1, banks must provide new deposit insurance disclosures for employee benefit plan accounts. Under the 1991 banking law, whether insurance coverage passes through to each participant of a benefit plan depends on the bank's capital when the deposit is taken. Well-capitalized banks are automatically eligible to offer insurance on these accounts, while adequately capitalized banks must get a waiver from the FDIC. Banks with less than adequate capital don't qualify. LENDER LIABILITY: The Environmental Protection Agency released on May 25 its "Brownfields Action Agenda," which helps clear up when banks are responsible for contaminated properties. The EPA said it will issue more prospective-purchaser agreements to protect borrowers and lenders from cleanup liability. Also, it said it will not sue lenders or borrowers whose property is contaminated by aquifers. AG LOAN LOSSES: The Comptroller's office announced May 24 that it plans to remove a rule in 1999 that allows agricultural loan losses to be amortized over seven years. Because the rule covered losses only through Jan. 1, 1992, it will become obsolete on Jan. 1, 1999. TRUTH-IN-LENDING: The NCUA delayed until next Jan. 1 implementation of new Truth-in-Lending rules for credit unions. The agency said it wanted to wait because pending legislative initiatives to repeal the act could make the rules moot. Published May 11.

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