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Spurred On

Spurs fever has been sweeping across the streets of San Antonio - and through the executive offices of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.

Dick Evans, its chairman and chief executive, spent his 61st birthday June 7 at the AT&T Center watching the Spurs win the opening game of the best-of-seven NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Deciding how to spend his birthday was not a hard choice.

"I asked my wife what we were going to do, and she made clear we were going to the game," Mr. Evans said Wednesday. "I'm a big fan, but she's even bigger."

The next day, he said, he saw Spurs T-shirts almost everywhere.

"The only Cleveland T-shirt I saw was in my office, which I quickly got rid of," he said. A consultant had given him that shirt.

"I don't know whether it's going to help our relationship," Mr. Evans joked. "I turned around and re-gifted it" to one of Cullen/Frost's out-of-town investors. With the Spurs ahead 3-0, "I hope it gets there quick."

Still Love N.Y.?

Richard H. Neiman, New York's banking superintendent, urged a group of international bankers to stick with his state and not give in to federal preemption.

"We know that the Comptroller of the Currency is aggressively marketing the federal branch license as an alternative to state licensing," Mr. Neiman said Wednesday in a speech to the Institute of International Bankers in Manhattan. "We understand that we need to continue to work hard to earn and maintain your confidence in us."

He said the commission assembled by Gov. Eliot Spitzer will modernize New York's financial laws and rules. Mr. Neiman is a member along with Charles Prince, the chief executive of Citigroup Inc., and Stephen Cutler, general counsel of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Given its taskmaster, the commission has a good chance of succeeding, Mr. Neiman said. "It's almost like Nixon going into China," he said after his speech. "If anyone could do this," Gov. Spitzer can.

Once New York's regulations are updated, the state could be a model for others that do not want to lose more banking charters to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Mr. Neiman said.

That's not to say there's no room for cooperation.

He said he is working with Comptroller John C. Dugan on some joint oversight projects, including a crackdown on mortgage brokers hawking subprime loans. "We'll still be great competitors, but we also have to find ways to work together more cooperatively," Mr. Neiman said.

Pride and Prejudice

Rep. Barney Frank smoothly mixed financial and gay issues in a speech in New York last week to the Rainbow Group Americas, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employee network of Deutsche Bank AG. …