Magazine article American Banker

Gonzalez Urges Vice President to Push for Single Bank Agency

Magazine article American Banker

Gonzalez Urges Vice President to Push for Single Bank Agency

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, chairman of the House Banking Committee, is urging Vice President Al Gore to consider combining the bank regulatory agencies as part of his effort to streamline the federal bureaucracy.

"The current federal bank regulatory system fits right into Vice President Gore's definition of a duplicative, inefficient, and expensive system," said Rep. Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat.

Although Rep. Gonzalez and the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Donald W. Riegle Jr., D-Mich., are strong advocates of regulatory consolidation, it is widely assumed that legislation in this area is unlikely to move this year.

Improving the System

Rep. Gonzalez introduced a bill March 14 that would consolidate the regulation and supervision of banks and thrifts in a single agency.

That contrasts with the current system, in which bank regulation is shared among the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Savings and loan supervision is handled by the Office of the Thrift Supervision.

Sen. Riegle also has been giving the issue a close look. Earlier this year, he said regulatory consolidation might be the best way to meet the bank industry's objective of regulatory relief. He has not introduced legislation. Both committee chairmen say they believe that agency consolidation would be more efficient and less costly for banks and thrifts.

Doubts Remain

Bankers are less sure, however. …

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