Interstate Banking Law Gets a Low-Key Sendoff

Article excerpt

Suddenly, it was over, with the aftermath like the silence after a thundering finish in a symphony. A push and pull that had long divided many bankers, members of Congress, and other interested parties had been settled. In spite of a nailbiter finish, it was as done a deal as any noncontroversial measure would be. With the September Senate passage and signing of the Interstate Banking Efficiency Act, federally authorized nationwide banking and branching was law. Subject to states' rights and Community Reinvestment Act provisions, nationwide banking will be permitted one year after enactment, and nationwide branching will be permitted after June 1, 1997.

Some of the ensuing reaction was predictable. Some cheered, others shrugged. Some pointed out a subtle victory within the bill - that banking had obtained passage of a major package without having to settle for a new crop of onerous consumerist regulations.

And NationsBank Corp., long in the vanguard of those fighting for interstate branching, ran full-page newspaper ads trumpeting the brave new world that Congress had ushered in.

Some of the reaction on the part of other bankers was so low-key, one might swear that little had happened at all. More than one banker interviewed after the law's passage described the occasion as "nonevent." In some cases, this reflected their relatively low interest in interstate branching, while in others the law's phased-in approach made pushing the panic button unnecessary.

A summary of the final legislation accompanies this roundup of banker views.

Hoping for a break

When people have discussed the strategies and implications of interstate branching, they've often talked about the NationsBanks of the world. …