As "part two" of their review to identify and eliminate outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, the federal bank regulators are seeking public comment on consumer protection regulations related to lending.
The regulatory burden reduction project is required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). As part of the effort to identify those regulations that are particularly burdensome, the agencies held five Banker Outreach Meetings attended by more than 250 bankers in 2003. In June, the agencies issued a notice categorizing 129 regulations into twelve groups and setting forth a three-year plan to review all the regulations.
In part one, the agencies requested comments on the first three categories of regulations (Applications and Reporting, Powers and Activities and International) and received 19 written responses, which contained more than 150 individual recommendations for regulatory burden reduction. Review of the comments is underway, and the agencies expect to make initial recommendations for change soon.
As urged by ICBA, the agencies modified their initial plan and divided the consumer protection regulations into two different groups rather than one, in order to make participation in the comment process more manageable for bankers. The first group of consumer regulations to be reviewed — those related to lending — include HMDA, Truth in Lending, Flood Insurance, Fair Housing, Consumer Leasing and Equal Credit Opportunity Act rules. Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.
In the second half of 2004, the agencies will seek comments on the consumer protection rules dealing with account and deposit relationships. The agencies also plan to continue to hold Banker Outreach Meetings next year. More information, including comment letters andrecommendationsrecomendations from the outreach meetings, is available at www.egrpra.gov.