Magazine article American Banker

Republicans Push to Get Thrift Fund Fix Passed before Congress Adjourns

Magazine article American Banker

Republicans Push to Get Thrift Fund Fix Passed before Congress Adjourns

Article excerpt

Republican leaders Wednesday launched a last-ditch effort to enact a Savings Association Insurance Fund rescue this year.

House Majority Leader Richard Armey and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott met yesterday to decide what legislation will be attached to an omnibus spending bill that must be passed before Congress adjourns on Sept. 28.

Industry sources said the thrift fund fix has made the cut, although nothing is final yet. The SAIF rescue also could be attached to other bills, for example, the Defense Department's appropriation.

Congressional budget negotiators are eying the insurance fund capitalization plan because it raises roughly $3.7 billion that can offset the cost of other government initiatives.

To craft a package that banks and thrifts will support, Rep. Jim Leach and Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, chairmen of the banking committees, talked by phone Wednesday.

"Our two committees have been engaged in a constructive dialogue to bring the banking agenda to fruition," Rep. Leach said. "Central in the discussion is regulatory relief and the SAIF plan.

"I am very optimistic about a positive result."

Still, industry lobbyists were scrambling and the more changes sought, the less chance the measure has of passing.

For example, some individual thrifts are asking lawmakers to force banks to pay the bulk of payments on Financing Corp. bonds in 1997, rather than delaying the cost for three years as in Rep. Leach's bill.

"There have been institutions that have hated the delay from the beginning," confirmed Paul A. …

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