Magazine article American Banker

Leach, with Banks' Blessing, Seeks Floor Vote on Fund Fix

Magazine article American Banker

Leach, with Banks' Blessing, Seeks Floor Vote on Fund Fix

Article excerpt

With the industry's backing, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has asked Republican leaders to schedule a floor vote on legislation capitalizing the thrift insurance fund.

In meeting with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Dick Armey on Wednesday, Rep. Leach initially pushed for the measure to be brought to a vote today, but they rejected such quick action. The Iowa Republican is now shooting for a vote in early September.

The American Bankers Association, the Independent Bankers Association of America, and the thrift trade group America's Community Bankers endorsed Rep. Leach's effort because the package also contains regulatory relief for the industry.

"We told Chairman Leach we would work with him to have a package brought to the House floor. Our membership has indicated if we can get a workable package this year we ought to try and do it," said Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the ABA.

"We are supportive of anything that will stabilize the deposit insurance system and that capitalizes the Savings Association Insurance Fund," said Robert Davis, director of government relations for America's Community Bankers. Mr. Davis added that his group's support is contingent upon provisions requiring a merger of the bank and thrift funds and pro-rata sharing of Financing Corp. bond payments starting in 2000.

Meanwhile, lawmakers were rushing to pass several high-profile bills before they adjourn for August recess today.

One key bill expected to pass Congress today - increasing the minimum wage and providing tax breaks for small businesses - includes several important banking provisions.

Key among those provisions are plans to shield thrifts from $3 billion in taxes on bad debt reserves. The bad-debt "recapture" plan is an important element to shoring up the thrift fund and eventually merging the bank and thrift charters. …

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