Small Banks Win Reporting Relief Under New Rule

By Jeff Bater

Banking agencies are making it easier for small lenders to meet regulatory requirements for filing data on their condition and performance.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), said Dec. 30 that they were finalizing call report requirements proposed in August.

The streamlined report would be smaller than the existing form—61 pages versus 85, a reduction owing to the removal of about 40 percent of nearly 2,400 data items.

All banks, regardless of size, submit a quarterly call report that includes data used by regulators to monitor the condition, performance, and risk profile of individual institutions and the industry as a whole.

The proposed changes would apply to financial institutions that have only domestic offices and have less than $1 billion in total assets. Those institutions represent about 90 percent of the companies required to file call reports.

Eligible lenders may begin filing the less onerous report as early as March 31, 2017.

Community bankers have been pushing regulators for relief on call reports. The FFIEC began an initiative in December 2014 to reduce burden associated with call report requirements for those small banks and came up with the proposed requirements released in August.

The rule incorporated comments the regulators received from small institutions during outreach activities and as part of the regulatory review conducted under the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act. The 1996 law, known as EGRPRA, requires the FDIC, the Fed, and the OCC to conduct a review at least every 10 years to identify outdated or otherwise unnecessary regulations.

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