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WASHINGTON-Three major banking trade associations are supporting a proposal from the Office of Thrift Supervision to lighten the Community Reinvestment Act reporting load for smaller savings institutions, while at the same time complaining credit unions do not have to follow it. The American Bankers Association, America’s Community Bankers and the Independent Community Bankers of America all strongly supported OTS’s proposal in individual comment letters. The regulator’s proposal would provide greater flexibility by expanding requirements to include activities in rural areas and increasing the threshold for the more complex `large bank’ CRA exam to $1 billion in assets. Additionally, OTS maintained in its proposal that 50% of the CRA score weight go to lending but the remaining 50% be allocated as the institutions find appropriate as opposed to the current 25% requirement for investments and services. In its comment letter to the agency, ACB said it supports the goals of CRA, but has longstanding concerns “about the burden that is imposed by a regulatory structure that is rigid and inflexible and does not take the differences in communities into account.”

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