[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 13 (Wednesday, January 21, 2004)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2852-2855]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-1161]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

12 CFR Chap. I

[Docket No. 004-05]

BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

12 CFR Chap. II

[Docket No. R-1180]

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

12 CFR Chap. III

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Office of Thrift Supervision

12 CFR Chap. V

[No. 2003-67]


Request for Burden Reduction Recommendations; Consumer 
Protection: Lending-Related Rules; Economic Growth and Regulatory 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 Review

AGENCIES: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Treasury; 
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board); Federal 
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and Office of Thrift Supervision 
(OTS), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of regulatory review; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The OCC, Board, FDIC, and OTS (``we'' or ``the Agencies'') are 
reviewing our regulations to identify outdated, unnecessary, or unduly 
burdensome regulatory requirements pursuant to the Economic Growth and 
Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Today, we request 
your comments and suggestions on ways to reduce burden in rules we have 
categorized as Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules, consistent 
with our statutory obligations. All comments are welcome. We 
specifically invite comment on the following issues: whether statutory 
changes are needed; whether the regulations contain requirements that 
are not needed to serve the purposes of the statutes they implement; 
the extent to which the regulations may adversely affect competition; 
the cost of compliance associated with reporting, recordkeeping, and 
disclosure requirements, particularly on small institutions; whether 
any regulatory requirements are inconsistent or redundant; and whether 
any regulations are unclear.
    We will analyze the comments received and propose burden reducing 
changes to our regulations where appropriate. Some of your suggestions 
for burden reduction might require legislative changes. Where 
legislative changes would be required, we will consider your 
suggestions in recommending appropriate changes to the Congress.

DATES: Written comments must be received no later than April 20, 2004.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
    EGRPRA Web site: http://www.EGRPRA.gov.
    [sbull] Comments submitted at the Agencies' joint Web site will 
automatically be distributed to all the Agencies upon receipt. Comments 
received at the EGRPRA Web site and by other means will be posted on 
the Web site to the extent possible.
    Individual agency addresses: You are also welcome to submit 
comments to the Agencies at the following contact points (due to delays 
in paper mail delivery in the Washington area, commenters may prefer to 
submit their comments by alternative means):
    OCC: You may submit comments, identified by Docket Number 04-05, by 
any of the following methods:
    [sbull] E-mail: regs.comments@occ.treas.gov. Include Docket Number 
04-05 in the subject line of the message.
    [sbull] Fax: (202) 874-4448.
    [sbull] Mail: Public Information Room, Office of the Comptroller of 
the Currency, 250 E Street, SW., Mailstop 1-5, Washington, DC 20219.
    Public Inspection: You may inspect and photocopy comments at the 
Public Information Room. You can make an appointment to inspect the 
comments by calling (202) 874-5043.
    Board: You may submit comments, identified by Docket Number R-1180, 
by any of the following methods:
    [sbull] E-mail: regs.comments@federalreserve.gov.

[[Page 2853]]

Include Docket Number R-1180, in the subject line of the message.
    [sbull] Mail: Ms. Jennifer J. Johnson, Secretary, Board of 
Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20551.
    [sbull] Fax: (202) 452-3819 or (202) 452-3102.
    Public Inspection: You may inspect and photocopy comments in Room 
MP-500 of the Martin Building between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays in 
accordance with the Board's Rules Regarding Availability of 
Information, 12 CFR part 261.
    FDIC: You may submit comments, identified as EGRPRA burden 
reduction comments, by any of the following methods:
    [sbull] http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/law/federal/propose.html
    [sbull] E-mail: comments@fdic.gov. Include ``EGRPRA burden 
reduction comment'' in the subject line of the message.
    [sbull] Mail: Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Federal 
Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20429.
    [sbull] Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand delivered to the guard 
station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building (located on F 
Street) on business days between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
    Public Inspection: You may inspect comments at the FDIC Public 
Information Center, Room 100, 801 17th Street, NW., between 9 a.m. and 
4:30 p.m. on business days.
    OTS: You may submit comments, identified by ``No. 2003-67,'' by any 
of the following methods:
    [sbull] E-Mail: regs.comments@ots.treas.gov. Include ``No. 2003-
67'' in the subject line of the message, and provide your name and 
telephone number.
    [sbull] Fax: (202) 906-6518.
    [sbull] Mail: Regulation Comments, Chief Counsel's Office, Office 
of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20552.
    [sbull] Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand delivered to the 
Guard's Desk, East Lobby Entrance, 1700 G Street, NW., from 9 a.m. to 4 
p.m. on business days, Attention: Regulation Comments, Chief Counsel's 
Office.
    Public Inspection: OTS will post comments and the related index on 
the OTS Internet Site at http://www.ots.treas.gov. In addition, you may 
inspect comments at the Public Reading Room, 1700 G Street, NW., by 
appointment. To make an appointment for access, call (202) 906-5922, 
send an e-mail to public.info@ots.treas.gov, or send a fax to (202) 
906-7755. (Please identify the material you would like to inspect to 
assist us in serving you.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    OCC:
    [sbull] Mark Tenhundfeld, Assistant Director, Legislative and 
Regulatory Activities Division, (202) 874-5090.
    [sbull] Lee Walzer, Counsel, Legislative and Regulatory Activities 
Division, (202) 874-5090.
    Board:
    [sbull] Patricia A. Robinson, Managing Senior Counsel, Legal 
Division, (202) 452-3005.
    [sbull] Michael J. O'Rourke, Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 452-
3288.
    [sbull] John C. Wood, Counsel, Division of Consumer and Community 
Affairs, (202) 452-2412.
    [sbull] Arleen Lustig, Supervisory Financial Analyst, Division of 
Banking Supervision and Regulation, (202) 452-5259.
    [sbull] For users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) 
only, contact (202) 263-4869.
    FDIC:
    [sbull] Claude A. Rollin, Special Assistant to the Vice Chairman, 
(202) 898-8741.
    [sbull] Steven D. Fritts, Associate Director, Division of 
Supervision and Consumer Protection, (202) 898-3723.
    [sbull] Ruth R. Amberg, Senior Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-
3736.
    [sbull] Thomas Nixon, Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-8766.
    OTS:
    [sbull] Robyn Dennis, Manager, Thrift Policy, Supervision Policy, 
(202) 906-5751.
    [sbull] Karen Osterloh, Special Counsel, Regulations and 
Legislation Division, Chief Counsel's Office, (202) 906-6639.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The Agencies are asking for your comments and suggestions on ways 
in which the Agencies can reduce regulatory burdens consistent with our 
statutory obligations. Today, we request your input to help us identify 
which Consumer Protection Lending-Related rules are outdated, 
unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The rules in this category are 
listed in a chart at the end of this notice. Please send us your 
recommendations at our Web site,
http://www.EGRPRA.gov, or to one of the listed addresses.
    The rest of this notice will discuss the essential elements of our 
EGRPRA review project, some suggestions we received on carrying it out, 
and today's request for comment.

II. Agencies' Proposed and Current Plan

A. The EGRPRA Review Requirements and the Agencies' \1\ Proposed Plan
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    \1\ The National Credit Union Administration has participated in 
planning the EGRPRA review but has issued, and will issue, requests 
for comment separately.
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    This current request for comment is part of the review required by 
section 2222 of EGRPRA.\2\ We described the EGRPRA review's 
requirements in our initial notice of the EGRPRA project published in 
the June 16, 2003, Federal Register.\3\ As part of our review, we ask 
for comments not only on burden imposed by individual regulatory 
requirements, but also on the cumulative effect of the rules.
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    \2\ Public Law 104-208, Sept. 30, 1996, 12 U.S.C. 3311.
    \3\ The citation for our first Federal Register notice is 68 FR 
35589. You can view it at our Web site http://www.EGRPRA.gov by 
clicking on ``Federal Register Notices.''
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    The EGRPRA review required us to categorize our rules by type. Our 
June 16, 2003 Federal Register publication placed our rules into 12 
categories. The categories are:
    1. Applications and Reporting;
    2. Banking Operations;
    3. Capital;
    4. Community Reinvestment Act;
    5. Consumer Protection;
    6. Directors, Officers and Employees;
    7. International Operations;
    8. Money Laundering;
    9. Powers and Activities;
    10. Rules of Procedure;
    11. Safety and Soundness;
    12. Securities.
    To spread the work of commenting on and reviewing the categories of 
rules over a reasonable period of time, we proposed to publish one or 
more categories of rules approximately every six months between 2003 
and 2006 and provide a 90-day comment period for each publication. We 
asked for comment on all aspects of our plan, including: the 
categories, the rules in each category, and the order in which we 
should review the categories. Because the Agencies were eager to begin 
reducing unnecessary burden where appropriate, our initial notice also 
published three categories of rules for comment (Applications and 
Reporting, Powers and Activities, and International Operations). All 
our covered categories of rules must be published for comment and 
reviewed by the end of September, 2006.
    The EGRPRA review then requires the Agencies to: (1) Publish a 
summary of the comments we received, identifying and discussing the 
significant issues

[[Page 2854]]

raised in them; and (2) eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements. 
Within 30 days after the Agencies publish the comment summary and 
discussion, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council 
(FFIEC), which is the formal interagency body to which the Agencies 
belong, must submit a report to the Congress. This report will 
summarize significant issues raised by the public comments and the 
relative merits of those issues. It will also analyze whether the 
appropriate Federal banking agency can address the burdens by 
regulation, or whether they must be addressed by legislation.

B. Public Response and the Agencies' Current Plan

    We received 19 comments in response to the first notice. You can 
view the comments at our EGRPRA Web site by clicking on ``Comments.'' 
In addition to soliciting written comments in 2003, we held banker 
outreach meetings in Orlando, St. Louis, Denver, San Francisco, and New 
York City in order to hear directly from the industry about ways the 
Agencies could reduce regulatory burden. More than 250 representatives 
from the industry attended the outreach meetings. These meetings have 
given us valuable insights and have helped focus our regulatory burden 
reduction efforts. We anticipate holding additional outreach events in 
2004. We also will be taking into account the important views of 
consumer and community organizations when we meet with them. You can 
view descriptions of the meetings and related recommendations at our 
EGRPRA Web site by clicking on ``Events'' and then choosing a meeting 
by its location.
    The Agencies appreciate the response to our notice and the outreach 
meetings. The written comments and remarks at the meetings came from 
individuals, banks, savings associations, holding companies, and 
industry trade groups. We are actively reviewing the feedback received 
about specific ways to reduce regulatory burden, as well as conducting 
our own analyses. Because the main purpose of this notice is to request 
comment on the next category of regulations, we will not discuss 
specific recommendations about the first set of regulation categories 
here. However, as we develop initiatives to reduce burden in the 
future--whether through regulatory, legislative, or other channels `` 
we will discuss the public's recommendations that relate to our 
proposed actions.
    We requested comment about our proposed categories and placement of 
the rules within each category. Industry trade groups and others 
observed that commenting on all consumer protection regulations at one 
time would be burdensome in itself and suggested that we might receive 
more useful feedback if the category was divided. As a result, we 
divided the consumer protection regulations into two categories: (1) 
Lending-Related Rules, and (2) Account--Deposit Relationships and 
Miscellaneous Consumer Rules. The regulations in the Lending-Related 
Rules category are listed in the chart below. The Account--Deposit 
Relationships and Miscellaneous Consumer Rules category will contain 
the remaining rules previously identified in the Consumer Protection 
category. We plan to request comment on the Account--Deposit 
Relationships and Miscellaneous Consumer Rules in the next notice.
    We also requested comment about the order in which we should review 
the categories. According to some industry representatives, the 
requirements imposed by the Consumer Protection regulations are among 
the most burdensome. Given this response, we will focus on those rules 
first.

III. Request for Comment on Consumer Protection: Lending--Related Rules 
Category

    Today, we are asking the public to identify the ways in which the 
Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules may be outdated, 
unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. As noted, the rules in this category 
are listed in the chart below.
    We encourage comments that address not only individual rules or 
requirements but also pertain to certain product lines. For example, in 
the case of a particular loan, are any disclosure requirements under 
one regulation inconsistent with or duplicative of requirements under 
another regulation? Are there unnecessary records that must be kept? A 
product line approach is consistent with EGRPRA's focus on how rules 
interact, and may be especially helpful in exposing redundant or 
potentially inconsistent regulatory requirements. We recognize that 
commenters using a product line approach may want to make 
recommendations about rules that are not in our current request for 
comment. They should do so since the EGRPRA categories are designed to 
stimulate creative approaches rather than limiting them.
    Specific issues to consider. While all comments are welcome, we 
specifically invite comment on the following issues:
    A. Need for statutory change. (1) Do any statutory requirements 
underlying the rules impose unnecessary, redundant, conflicting or 
unduly burdensome requirements? (2) Are there less burdensome 
alternatives?
    B. Need and purpose of the regulations. (1) Are the regulations 
consistent with the purposes of the statutes that they implement? (2) 
Have circumstances changed so that a rule is no longer necessary? (3) 
Do changes in the financial products and services offered to consumers 
suggest a need to revise certain regulations (or statutes)? (4) Do any 
of the regulations impose compliance burdens not required by the 
statutes they implement?
    C. General approach/flexibility. (1) Would a different general 
approach to regulating achieve statutory goals with less burden? (2) Do 
any of these rules impose unnecessarily inflexible requirements?
    D. Effect of the regulations on competition. Do any of the 
regulations or statutes create competitive disadvantages for insured 
depository institutions compared to the rest of the financial services 
industry or competitive disadvantages for one type of insured 
depository institution over another?
    E. Reporting, recordkeeping and disclosure requirements. (1) Which 
reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements impose the most 
compliance burdens? (2) Are any of the reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements unnecessary to demonstrate compliance with the law?
    F. Consistency and redundancy. (1) Are any of the requirements 
under one regulation inconsistent with or duplicative of requirements 
under another regulation? (2) If so, are the inconsistencies not 
warranted by the purposes of the regulations?
    G. Clarity. Are any of the regulations drafted unclearly?
    H. Burden on small insured institutions. We have particular 
interest in minimizing burden on small insured institutions (those with 
assets of $150 million or less). How could these rules be amended to 
minimize adverse economic impact on small insured institutions?
    The Agencies appreciate the efforts of all interested parties to 
help us eliminate outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome 
regulatory requirements.

[[Page 2855]]



                                                                            Rules for Which Comment Is Requested Now
                                                                      [Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules Category]
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                                                                                                                                                                    Holding companies bank \4\
             Subject                      National banks                State member banks            State non-member banks                  Thrifts                         thrift
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                                                                           Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules
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     Interagency Regulations
 
Fair Housing....................  12 CFR Part 27................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 338...............  12 CFR Part 528 (including
                                                                                                                                   other nondiscrimination
                                                                                                                                   requirements).
Loans in Identified Flood Hazard  12 CFR Part 22................  12 CFR 208.25 [Reg. H]........  12 CFR Part 339...............  12 CFR Part 572.
 Areas.
 
        Board Regulations
 
Consumer Leasing................  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M]......  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M]......  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M]......  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M]......  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M].
                                  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 213 [Reg. M].
Equal Credit Opportunity........  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B]......  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B]......  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B]......  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B]......  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B].
                                  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 202 [Reg. B].
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act....  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C]......  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C]......  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C]......  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C]......  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C].
                                  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 203 [Reg. C].
Truth in Lending................  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z]......  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z]......  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z]......  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z]......  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z].
                                  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 226 [Reg. Z].
Unfair or Deceptive Acts or       12 CFR 227.11-16 [Reg. AA,      12 CFR 227.11-16 [Reg. AA,      12 CFR 227.11-16 [Reg. AA,
 Practices.                        Subpart B].                     Subpart B].                     Subpart B].
         OTS Regulations
 
Unfair or Deceptive Acts or       ..............................  ..............................  ..............................  12 CFR Part 535.
 Practices.
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\4\ Foreign banking organizations that conduct banking operations in the U.S., either directly through branches and agencies or indirectly through U.S. bank subsidiaries or commercial lending
  company subsidiaries, generally are subject to the same regulatory regime as domestic bank holding companies.


    Dated: January 14, 2004.
John D. Hawke, Jr.
Comptroller of the Currency.

    By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 
on January 7, 2004.
Jennifer J. Johnson,
Secretary of the Board.

    By order of the Board of Directors, Federal Deposit Insurance 
Corporation.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 2nd day of December, 2003.
Robert E. Feldman,
Executive Secretary.

    Dated: December 17, 2003.

    By the Office of Thrift Supervision.
Richard M. Riccobono,
Deputy Director.
[FR Doc. 04-1161 Filed 1-20-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-33-P; 6210-01-P; 6714-01-P; 6720-01-P