Bank and Thrift Regulation:

Concerns About Credit Availability and Regulatory Burden

T-GGD-93-10: Published: Mar 17, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1993.

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GAO discussed the availability of bank credit to small and medium-sized businesses and the amount of regulatory burden placed on banking institutions. GAO noted that: (1) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act reforms are essential for protecting banks and taxpayers from rising deposit insurance costs; (2) problems with lending restrictions, particularly relating to commercial and industrial loans, vary by geographic regions and bank financial conditions; (3) the availability of credit was not a problem for a great majority of the small businesses surveyed; (4) there were inconsistencies and overlap among regulators in their examination policies and practices; (5) inconsistencies included differences in examination scope, frequency, documentation, and assessment of critical areas; (6) while studies reflect an increasing concern that the cumulative effect of regulation may be placing too great a burden on the industry, there is little information on how to ease the burden without adversely affecting safety, soundness, and consumer protection goals; and (7) agency studies have identified changes to reduce unnecessary burden without compromising safety and soundness or consumer protection, which include streamlining application processes, clarifying examination procedures, and simplifying report forms.

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