Texas House Passes Interstate Banking / Goes to Governor

Article excerpt

AUSTIN - A sweeping interstate banking measure designed to allow out-of-state institutions to acquire Texas banks and thrifts was passed overwhelmingly by the Texas House Tuesday.

The House approval, on a 116-24 vote, follows approval by the Texas Senate last week.

The measure is expected to go to Democratic Gov. Mark White, possibly by the end of the week, and White has indicated that he will sign the bill.

The interstate banking measure would allow an out-of-state financial institution to acquire a Texas bank, bank holding company or savings and loan. However, an institution could not acquire both a bank and a thrift.

Texas' interstate banking bill would give Oklahoma banks a six-month jump on acquiring their Texas cousins.

Effective Jan. 1, 1987, any bank from any state could buy any Texas bank - "healthy or sick," according to Jim Sexton, the Texas banking commissioner.

The bill also doesn't require an acquiring institution's state to have enacted an interstate banking measure. The Texas measure will allow takeovers Jan. 1, but acquisition talks could begin at anytime.

The speedy action by the Texas legislature reflects what some state officials are calling a ''banking crisis'' in Texas as problems with energy, real estate and agriculture loans are prompting big losses for some leading texas banking concerns.

Federal and state regulators say there is a growing need for some of these banks to bolster capital, and the best source for funds is likely to come from out-of-state bankers. The prospect of opening the huge Texas banking market to outsiders is prompting a frenzy of speculation in the stock of some Texas bank whose prices had been falling until recently.

"The Oklahoma law is a little more restrictive than ours," Sexton said. …