Magazine article American Banker

Merger of Banking Regulators Is a No-Show in Gore Report

Magazine article American Banker

Merger of Banking Regulators Is a No-Show in Gore Report

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Vice President Gore's long-awaited "Reinventing Government" report does not advocate merging the bank regulatory agencies, but a senior administration officials promised an announcement on that subject soon.

"We'll have something to say about that later in the fall," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman in an interview on the White House South Lawn, following a ceremony during which the report was unveiled. "We are addressing it."

Industry figures have been interviewed extensively on the subject, and many had expected the report to call for a merger of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Both are Treasury agencies.

Concerns on Bailout Costs

"I talked to them three times, and each discussion was related to OCC and OTS," said Kenneth A. Guenther, executive vice president of the Independent Bankers Association of America.

Mr. Guenther expressed concern that an agency merger could have the effect of saddling the banking industry with some responsibility for financing thrift bailout.

"I think that remains a concern for everyone," he said.

Mr. Guenther said the IBAA has not taken a position on whether two regulatory agencies should be merged. However, the IBAA has long supported the idea of moving the Comptroller's office out of the Treasury, he said.

"There is a politicization of bank regulation and supervision" with the agency residing within Treasury, Mr. Guenther said. "They are using bank regulation for social policy, and that is politicization. …

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