WASHINGTON - After adopting an assessment schedule that irked many community bankers, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. appears to have mollified them with a revision.

In comment letters sent to the agency in recent weeks, bankers and banking associations applauded the FDIC proposal that lets them make their first-quarter 1996 payment in January instead of December.

Without the change, banks and thrifts would have to make five quarterly premium payments next year. This posed a problem for some of the estimated 1,400 small banks that do their accounting on a cash basis - that is, they recognize revenues only when the money is received and expenses only when they actually are paid.

FDIC assessments were due at the end of January and the end of July. Since June, they must be paid just before the start of each quarter.

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