Magazine article American Banker

Leach: Credit Union Bill Will Be Ready This Week

Magazine article American Banker

Leach: Credit Union Bill Will Be Ready This Week

Article excerpt

The House Banking Committee plans to have credit union reform legislation ready by the end of the week, Chairman Jim Leach said Monday.

The committee is still to decide whether credit unions should be taxed and how membership should be limited, Rep. Leach said cautiously in response to assertive questions from bankers at a political fund-raiser in Chicago.

Lawmakers also are still wrestling with whether to join credit union legislation with the financial reform bill, the Iowa Republican said.

Should House leaders fail to link the two, Rep. Leach said, it may be difficult to "build momentum" for the controversial financial reform bill on its own.

"I can't say with certainty that bank modernization will pass," he said. "There are huge differences within and between each industry group."

Banking lobbyists, who oppose blending the two bills, said they are seeing encouraging political signs. "The idea of linking them has a little less heat than it did last week," said Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association.

As House Republicans race to pass financial reform in the next three weeks, they must maneuver around other potential roadblocks.

John D. Hawke Jr., the Treasury Department's under secretary for domestic finance, said Monday that the bill House Republicans unveiled last week represents "a major attack" on national banks.

"The national bank charter has been singled out for special and discriminatory treatment," Mr. Hawke told a meeting of the National Bankers Association and American League of Financial Institutions.

The critical remarks - albeit not a surprise - are the first official word from the Clinton administration since the House Banking and Commerce committees released the bill last week. Under pressure from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the two committees grudgingly hammered out a compromise from conflicting versions of financial reform that they had each approved last year. …

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