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NR 1998-33
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Comptroller Voices Concern over Lending Study

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The OCC expressed concern today about the implications of a study on lending practices conducted by the Fair Housing Council, which tested 72 Washington-area mortgage lending institutions to determine whether minorities were subject to illegal discrimination in the pre-application process.

"I am troubled by the implications of the information reported today, " said Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig. "At the OCC we have zero tolerance for lending discrimination in the national banking system. I look forward to having the opportunity to review the Council's complete findings."

The OCC is the first federal bank regulatory agency to implement a testing program, and in 1996, issued a report on the results of its own pilot program to assess the use of testers to identify fair lending violations at national banks. "We consider, on a case-by-case basis, the use of matched pair tests to supplement our fair lending program, " added Comptroller Ludwig.

The OCC also issued interim guidelines on self-assessments in OCC Bulletin 95-51, and encouraged national banks to develop their own self-testing programs. For more information on the OCC's fair-lending programs, visit the agency's Internet site at http://www.occ.treas.gov.

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