Pennsylvania Governor Thornburgh to Sign Regional Interstate Banking Bill

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Pennsylvania Governor Thornburgh to Sign Regional Interstate Banking Bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania governor Richard Thornburgh will sign an interstate banking bill this morning, according to sate banking department officials. The legislation, which is expected to quickly broaded the operating territory of several large banks in the region, will become effective 60 days after the governor's approval.

The Pennsylvania Senate on Monday sent the measure to the governor, after concurring with House-approved amendments to the regional reciprocity bill. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 47-to-2.

The interstate region includes New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia. The legislation sets a national trigger date of March 4, 1990.

Applications for holding companies seeking interstate acquisitions will be available soon, though they will not be accepted for processing until the 60-day period ends on Aug. 25, according to banking department spokeswoman Sandra Dunkleberger.

The original Senate bill, passed in January 1986, was amended in the House to require Pennsylvania holding companies involved in interstate deals and out-of-state institutions coming into the state to meet two general criteria.

First, they must provide basic banking services to low- and moderate-income consumers. And, second, they must offer local businesses sufficient credit to meet the state's economic development needs.

Bankers generally have said they could live with these provisions. They are clearly preferable to strings that some legislators had wanted to attach, such as lower credit-card interest-rate ceilings.

The amendments do not define specific consumer services, or specific ways lenders must meet development needs. The specifics are left to the secretary of banking, who must approve acquisitions and could impose conditions on mergers and monitor compliance.

A nine-member advisory commission set up by the bill would offer guidelines and recommendations.

Wilson D. McElhinny, chairman of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association's task force on interstate banking, said he was "very pleased" by the vote.

He was happy, as well, in his capacity as vice chairman of $11 billion-assets CoreStates Financial Corp., Philadelphia. CoreStates has signed an agreement to acquire the $2 billion-asset New Jersey National Corp., Pennington, N.J., once the laws allow.

Bigger-city bankers succeeded in keeping New York State away from their doors, at least until 1990. The House earlier rejected an amendment to include any other state offering reciprocity. …