Clinton, Consumer Groups Compromise on Branch Banks

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON _ The Clinton administration and consumer groups have reached a compromise on when state laws should apply to branches of national banks, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen said Thursday. "This agreement ... is a significant and very positive step toward producing a landmark banking bill for the president's signature," Bentsen said. He said the compromise would help clear the way for Senate and House conferees to agree on legislation for final congressional approval, which is expected this summer.

Both the House and Senate voted in favor of interstate banking bills by wide margins this spring. Both bills would permit a holding company to own a bank anywhere in the United States.

Bentsen said the plan would assure that state laws governing community reinvestment, consumer protection, fair lending and the establishment of intrastate branches generally would apply to branches of national banks as they apply to state bank branches. But he said state laws would not apply when specifically preempted by federal law or when the Comptroller of the Currency, a federal agency, determines that the state laws discriminate against national banks. The plan also sets up procedural requirements when the comptroller is considering whether federal law preempts state laws. AT T Plant Managers Buy Factory, Georgia Operation

PHOENIX _ Managers of an AT T Corp. plant that makes copper cable are buying the factory and a related operation in Norcross, Ga., resulting in a loss of about 260 jobs in Georgia, the company announced Thursday. The 1,600 employees at the Phoenix plant will be allowed to apply for positions with the new owners, Cable Systems International Inc. …