Magazine article American Banker

Commerce Panel Reaches Final Days of Hearings on Financial Reform Bill

Magazine article American Banker

Commerce Panel Reaches Final Days of Hearings on Financial Reform Bill

Article excerpt

The House Commerce Committee will wrap up its hearings on financial reform legislation Wednesday, with testimony from securities and banking industry officials.

With Congress scheduled to recess Aug. 2, staffers will spend the month drafting changes to the measure narrowly approved by the House Banking Committee June 20.

Soon after Labor Day, Commerce's finance and hazardous materials subcommittee will vote on the plan allowing banks, insurance, and securities firms to merge. A vote of the committee is expected by Sept. 15.

House leaders have not restricted which provisions of the bill Commerce may rewrite. While lobbyists are trying to convince the committee to reinstate the thrift charter, lawmakers appear reluctant so far to range that far from their traditional jurisdiction.

Commerce members focused Friday on how best to regulate banks selling insurance. Wednesday's hearing is expected to spotlight oversight of bank securities activities.

At the subcommittee hearing Friday, lawmakers proposed handing disputes between banking regulators and state insurance commissioners to the courts.

Requiring regulators to take turf battles to the courts would allow the Commerce Committee to eliminate a provision creating the National Council on Financial Services to settle disagreements.

"If the council is replaced with some form of expedited review in federal courts, this committee must determine what guidance the court should be given," said Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, the subcommittee's chairman. …

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