Magazine article American Banker

Trade Groups Showing Barely United Front in Affiliation Debate

Magazine article American Banker

Trade Groups Showing Barely United Front in Affiliation Debate

Article excerpt

Trade groups Thursday presented a united front in urging Congress to break down barriers between financial firms-but nettlesome differences lurk beneath the surface.

A letter signed by 10 industry associations urging lawmakers to "permit the cross-affiliation of institutions offering any type of financial service" was delivered Thursday to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, other top lawmakers, and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, said "technical details" remain to be worked out, but the letter from the Alliance for Financial Modernization signified agreement among industry groups on broad issues. "This signals the old battle over turf clearly is over," he said. Treasury Under Secretary John D. Hawke called the letter an "absolutely amazing development" considering the groups have been "at each other's throats" for years.

But a closer look at the letter hints that it may still prove difficult for Congress to craft reform legislation satisfactory to all factions.

America's Community Bankers, one of the groups in the Alliance, refused to endorse the message. The eight over other members of the coalition chose to sign, as did two insurance industry trade groups that are not in the Alliance.

In a separate message to Rep. Gingrich, America's Community Bankers president Paul A. Schosberg said the thrift trade association "generally endorses" the letter from other groups, but warned that two financial modernization bills sponsored by House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach and Rep. …

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