The Office of Thrift Supervision is taking another stab at reshaping its Community Reinvestment Act regulations by giving large institutions more flexibility in meeting their lending, service, and investment tests.As proposed, OTS-supervised institutions with more than $1 billion in assets could increase their CRA lending activities and reduce their services and investment activities. The OTS is also proposing to expand its definition of "community development" so that thrifts get more credit for CRA activities in rural areas. The comment period ends in 60 days. Several months ago, the OTS jumped ahead of the other banking regulators by reducing the CRA regulatory burden on thrifts with assets of $250 million to $1 billion. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is considering similar action, with a proposal to give more CRA credit for community development activities in rural areas. America's Community Bankers supports the OTS initiative, said ACB senior vice president Charlotte Bain. "We are happy that OTS continues to look at ways to make the regulation really reflect what institutions are doing," she said.

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