Banks have until Nov. 24 to apply to a government program that rewards them for increasing Community Reinvestment Act lending.

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, sponsored by the Department of Treasury, is taking applications for its 1999 Bank Enterprise Award program. The award is a no-strings financial incentive for boosting CRA lending, a Treasury Department representative said.

To apply, a bank first must provide the Community Development Financial Institutions office with a breakdown of its CRA lending for the first half of 1998.

Banks that boost CRA lending during the first six months of 1999 will receive a cash bonus worth 5% to 15% of the increase.

The incentive program has given $28 million to 79 banks in 1998. Interested bankers should contact the CDFI office in Washington at 202-622- 8662.

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