Proxmire:work Will Begin on Updating Banking Laws

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Banking Committee will begin work next week updating laws that govern America's banking system, and the full Senate could act within a month, the committee's chairman said Tuesday.

Sen. William Proxmire said his bill, covering issues ranging from how long a bank can hold a deposited check to how many billions should be available to insure savings and loan deposits, will go before the panel Feb. 25.

The Wisconsin Democrat said at a news conference that he hoped to bring the bill to the Senate floor by mid-March. And he said he was determined to get a bill enacted that deals with the problems, even if the final version differed from what he proposes.

"I'm not going to say there's only one bill," Proxmire said. "I'm going to push through whatever I can get."

The bill confronts a number of issues that have been debated for years. Some are 50-year-old restrictions that bankers contend have become antiquated and only impede competition for no purpose. Others reflect changes of technology, such as the computer transfer of funds.

All have been voted upon by the Senate before. Some also have been passed by the House. But none has yet made it through the legislative obstacle course. Proxmire said this one would be different.

"It is time for the Congress to clear the decks of these unresolved issues so that we can begin examining other issues of great importance to our financial system," he said. …