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WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - A U.S. bank regulator is poised to fault Spanish lender Santander for doing too little to reach poor neighborhoods and will give the bank a failing grade for community lending, according to sources familiar with the situation.
A decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the main regulator of national banks, is due by early 2017.
Specifically, Santander will be deemed a bank that "needs to improve" under terms of the Community Reinvestment Act, which was enacted in the 1970s to help end discriminatory lending.
Banks deemed "need to improve" must clear more regulatory hurdles when they want to open branches or seek to merge.
The OCC and Santander both declined to comment. (Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editin by Steve Orlofsky)