Magazine article American Banker

Florida House Panel Backs Regional Bill; Failure to Add Trigger Date Irks Big-Bank Lobbyists

Magazine article American Banker

Florida House Panel Backs Regional Bill; Failure to Add Trigger Date Irks Big-Bank Lobbyists

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A regional interstate banking bill easily passed its first test in the Florida legislature on Tuesday, but lobbyists for money center banks hinted that they might try to revise or kill it.

The House banking subcommittee voted 8 to 0 for the measure, which would allow bank companies from 11 other southern states and the District of Columbia to buy Florida banks if those states offered the same privilege. The measure has strong backing from Gov. Bob Graham and most segments of the industry.

But money center banks and independent bankers vigorously oppose the bill.

Walter Law, the lobbyist for the Independent Bankers of Florida, warned that the regional measure would "start the clock running" toward full-fledged interstte banking -- a change that he warned would lead to excessive concentration of ownership of the nation's banks.

William Boyd, the lobbyist for Chemical New York Corp. -- which has a deal to acquire Florida National Banks of Florida Inc. when the law allows -- said the regional approach was just a tactic to stall money center banks in their attempt to gain deposit-taking authority in Florida.

"I don't think it's a step forward unless it contains some kind of date certain, some kind of trigger, to open the state to full competition," Mr. Boyd said.

He and other lobbyists said that if a trigger is not added to the bill, they will oppose it.

The Florida Bankers Association argued that the reginal banking zone would allow southern banks to grow large enough to compete against money center banks when nationwide banking takes effect. …

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