Magazine article American Banker

Branching Legislation Stirring in Congress

Magazine article American Banker

Branching Legislation Stirring in Congress

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A number of influential House Banking Committee members are readying legislation that would permit banks to branch interstate except in those states that expressly forbid it.

Rep. Bruce Vento, D-Minn., and Rep. doug Bereuter, R-Neb., are drafting a bill that aides said is patterned after a measure that passed overwhelmingly on the House floor last year, but was not enacted into law.

And Rep. Peter Hoagland, D-Neb., and Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., are putting the final touches on a similar piece of legislation, and could introduce it shortly after Congress returns from its winter break, according to lobbyists and congressional sources.

Odds on Passage

Although it is widely assumed that bank-powers legislation faces virtually insurmountable odds this year, interstate branching is the one issue thought to have even a slim chance of passing Congress.

"These are very intelligent, energetic and well-respected members," said Stephen J. Verdier, a lobbyist for the Independent Bankers Association of America, which opposes interstate branching.

"Anytime you have that kind of legislative coalition, you have to take it seriously," he added.

The Voting in 1991

Last year, when the issue was put before House members for a straight up or down vote, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of interstate branching.

However, that vote was for an amendment that was more restrictive than the provision it replaced, and and opponents of branching said many lawmakers interpreted their vote as anti-interstate. …

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