Magazine article American Banker

Leader in GOP Takes Modernization Stand

Magazine article American Banker

Leader in GOP Takes Modernization Stand

Article excerpt

Rep. John Linder, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told big-bank lobbyists last week that he plans to co-sponsor legislation allowing banks and nonfinancial firms to merge.

The Georgian would become the first member of the GOP leadership to pick a side in the financial modernization debate. The legislation is sponsored in the House by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., and in the Senate by Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y.

Competing proposals have been introduced by House Banking's top two Republicans, Jim Leach of Iowa and Marge Roukema of New Jersey.

Rep. Linder said he expected House leaders to take a strong role in pushing financial reform legislation to a vote, according to sources attending the annual meeting of the American Bankers Association's Legislative Liaison Advisory Committee, or Lilac, in Palm Springs, Calif.

Rep. Linder also said he expected a "working group" headed by John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican Conference chairman, to be appointed shortly. Rep. Linder said the task force would tackle contentious points such as industry disputes over bank insurance sales, but leave bulk of the bill to the banking committee.

With big-name co-sponsors slow to sign on, credit union groups may ask friendly lawmakers to introduce legislation expanding access to credit unions in the next couple of weeks.

Since mid-February the groups have asked allies in Congress to hold off until a bipartisan slate of high-profile supporters could be recruited.

But many lawmakers appear reluctant to come forward following the Supreme Court's Feb. …

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