WASHINGTON -- A bill to permit regional interstate banking between the District of Columbia and 11 Southern states comes before the District Council today for the second -- and supposedly final -- time. Its fate is uncertain.
The bill had been scheduled for a final vote on July 9, but it was unexpectedly pulled from the hopper by its sponsor, council member Charlene Drew Jarvis. Ms. Jarvis said she withdrew the measure because of an "11th hour" call from a local banker urging addition of a "trigger" to open the area in two years to banks in New York and other states that have reciprocal interstate banking laws.
The identity of the caller has been one of the mysteries of the Washington summer. Ms. Jarvis said that the call had conveyed the support of "more than one" local banker for a two-year national trigger. But Michael F. Ryan, president of the District of Columbia Bankers Association, said that so far as he is aware, all Washington area bankers oppose a trigger.
Kyle Legg, an analyst with Alex. Brown & Sons in Baltimore, said the postponement was most likely in response to New York Banks, which have lobbied heavily for such a trigger. Representatives of Citicorp and Marine Midland testified in favor of a trigger at District Council hearings this spring.
Washington Mayor Marion Barry also supports a two-year national trigger.
In its current form, unanimously approved by the council on June 25, the bill recommends reviewing the situation in three years to see whether District banks are strong enough to withstand nationwide competition. Under D.C. law, a bill must be approved twice in the same form.
It remains unclear whether Ms. Jarvis will offer an amendment to the bill to create a 1987 trigger date.
If passed, the bill would allow interstate acquisitions in 11 southeastern states if they extend reciprocal …