The Office of Thrift Supervision has finalized a rule that increases the Community Reinvestment Act exemption for small banks to $1 billion from $250 million.Effective Oct. 1, the final rule reduces the CRA compliance burden for 199 thrifts and brings the total number of thrifts that enjoy the small-bank exemption to 807 thrifts, or 85% of all OTS-supervised institutions. The remaining 116 thrifts subject to full CRA examinations and documentation requirements hold 86.4% of thrift assets. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board decided against raising the small-bank exemption because of its potential impact on the credit needs of rural communities. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has scheduled an Aug. 16 meeting to consider a revised CRA proposed.

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