WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton's nominee for regulator of the nation's largest banks promised Wednesday to free the economy from any overly strict banking rules.
Eugene A. Ludwig, a Washington attorney nominated to be comptroller of the currency, pleased both Democrats and Republicans with his pledge to eliminate unneeded rules after he completes a "careful and painstaking review."
"There's an ongoing effort that must be made to look at every regulation and every burden with an eye toward eliminating that burden if it is not truly necessary for a safe and sound banking system," he told the Senate Banking Committee.
Ludwig, 45, a former classmate of Clinton's at Oxford University, is the architect of the president's plan to ease the credit crunch on small businesses by relaxing selected banking rules for all but the weakest banks.
As comptroller, he would be responsible for regulating nationally chartered banks, including most of the nation's largest.
All committee members present said they would support Ludwig's nomination. The committee scheduled a vote Thursday, and aides said the full Senate could vote on it this week.
Banking trade groups have campaigned this year to lighten their regulatory burden. Consumer activists, though, have warned against going too far and opening the banking system to another wave of failures.
Ludwig told lawmakers he would keep rules that promote soundness but eliminate regulations and practices that make bankers afraid to take risks. …