Credit checks will have access to medical info

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

The federal bank, thrift and credit union regulatory agencies have issued an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that allows inquiries into medical information to determine credit eligibility.

The amendments, which become affective April 1, will also allow credit affiliates to share medical information.

However, the amendments require use of the information be limited to “necessary and appropriate” inquiries for “purposes to protect legitimate operational, transactional risk.”

Obtaining or using medical information for credit purposes was formerly prohibited.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 amended the FCRA to prohibit a creditor from obtaining or using medical information. FACT requires the agencies to prescribe regulations that permit creditors to obtain and use medical information for credit eligibility.

The final rules are being issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision.

U.S. Bank opens 2,400th branch

U.S. Bank officials announced this week that they’ve reached a milestone with the opening of their 2,400th branch in Missouri.

U.S. Bank, part of U.S. Bancorp, now has 2,411 branches and 4,999 ATMs in 24 states, making it the fifth-largest branch network in the country. U.S. Bank also operates the third-largest in-store banking network in the United States.

A large portion of U.S. Bank’s branch growth has been in non-traditional locations, such as in grocery stores, on college campuses, at major corporate sites, airports, hospitals and popular sporting venues, such as Churchill Downs.

Guide helps seniors stay fiscally fit

With the average American living longer and spending more years in retirement than ever before, more senior citizens are looking for ways to stretch and preserve their savings.

A special issue of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Consumer News is devoted helping senior citizens make smart decisions about retirement funding.

“Fiscal Fitness for Older Americans: Stretching Your Savings and Shaping Up Your Financial Strategies,” provides information about the following topics:

  • Finding sources of funding and avoiding pitfalls
  • Protecting against financial frauds that target the elderly
  • Simplifying and organizing finances
  • What to consider before giving others access to bank accounts and safe deposit boxes
  • Things seniors should know about FDIC insurance

The newsletter also features retirement strategies to consider at different life stages, a 15-question quiz about money management for seniors and a list of government resources for senior citizens.

U.S. Bancorp named top large bank

U.S. Bancorp has been named the top performing large bank in the country by Bank Director magazine.

Each year the magazine holds its Bank Performance Scorecard competition to name the nation’s top performer.

Bank officials credit U.S. Bancorp’s fee structure and careful spending for the noted performance.

Banks making the “top large-bank” performance ranking had to have more than $50 billion in total assets. Six categories were used to measure the performance of 23 banks that qualified as “large banks.”

The categories included return on average assets, return on average equity, tier one capital ratio, leverage ratio, nonperforming asset ratio and reserve coverage.

U.S. Bancorp was ranked first in two of the six categories with a return on average assets of 2.22 percent and return on average equity of 22.61 percent.

The ranking was based on public data during the third and fourth quarters of 2004 and the first and second quarters of 2005.

A magazine judge’s note said that no other large bank really comes close to U.S. Bancorp’s return numbers.

Judges also recognized the contribution of U.S. Bancorp’s board of directors to the success of the company. The 12-member group boasts eight sitting CEOs, including those from large companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, Cargill, and Medtronic.

No hike in deposit insurance assessment rates

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s board of directors voted last week not to change deposit insurance assessment rates for at least the first half of 2006.

FDIC officials also expect that the reserve ratios for the Bank Insurance Fund and the Savings Association Insurance Fund will drop during the 12 months ending on June 30.

FDIC staff members believe retaining the current rates for the first half of 2006 will not significantly increase the rates that the board of directors would have to charge if it were required to raise rates six months from now.

To view the FDIC analysis of the current status of the funds, the intermediate term outlook for the economy and emerging risks to banking, and recommendations for the BIF and SAIF assessment rate, go to www.fdic.com.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.