|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Friday, July 14, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, warned federal banking regulators today that they may have missed the mark in writing regulations to implement the sunshine provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, requiring public disclosure of bank agreements related to the Community Reinvestment Act.
The sunshine requirements, contained in Section 711 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, require banks to disclose agreements with community groups that receive payments or loan agreements in connection with CRA. Groups that receive funds in connection with CRA are required to disclose the specific uses of those funds. The requirements, which became law Nov. 12, 1999, are intended to allow community residents to assess the performance of banks and community groups that purport to work on their behalf.
In a letter to regulators, Gramm said an analysis of the proposed inter-agency regulation found that the proposals would make the sunshine requirements "totally ineffective in meeting the purposes for which Congress adopted them."
"If we are to bring the people who actually live in the communities into the Community Reinvestment Act process, and give them the power to know and monitor what is said and done in the name of their interests, these regulations must not be allowed to go forward until these defects are corrected," Gramm wrote to the heads of the agencies that issued the proposed regulations: the Comptroller of the Currency, the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, as well as the chairmen of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
In a memorandum to Gramm that was submitted to regulators, the Banking Committee's chief counsel outlined six specific areas in which the proposed regulations are "either contrary to the statute" or provide "avenues for parties to avoid compliance" with the statute:
Gramm's letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan regarding the proposed regulations and the counsels' memorandum can be found on the Banking Committee's web site, under "From the Chairman."