The Federal Housing Finance Board is sponsoring a Sept. 27 seminar on ways the Federal Home Loan Banks can increase their support for small businesses in rural and agricultural communities.The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 authorized the FHLBanks to accept small-business and small agricultural loans as collateral for advances. But the FHLBanks have not really adapted to that kind of lending, and they continue to rely mainly on mortgage loans for collateral. "The Finance Board would like the banks to do more of this lending," an FHFB spokesman said. The all-day seminar in Washington will focus on how the FHLBanks "can better utilize this [collateral] authority to meet the community financial institutions' liquidity needs," the seminar announcement says.

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