Magazine article American Banker

Regulatory Reforms Need More Stress, House Leader Says

Magazine article American Banker

Regulatory Reforms Need More Stress, House Leader Says

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials proposing to streamline the bank regulatory system might fail to get the attention of Congress unless additional action is taken, the chairman of a House subcommittee said Wednesday.

Rep. Doug Barnard Jr., D-Ca., said at a subcommittee hearing that proposals of a task group led by Vice President George Bush might not go far enough in streamlining the current system. Also, he said the administration might have to do more lobbying for regulatory reform in order to get others in Congress interested in the legislation as well.

Mr. Barnard is chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee on commerce, consumer, and monetary affairs. He and other members of the subcommittee questioned the Bush task group participants about their recommendations, including the "turf battles" and compromises that were part of the final product.

In this regard, for example, they questioned why the Bush group didn't go along with recommendations such as taking the Federal Reserve Board out of day-to-day bank supervision and merging the federal deposit insurance funds for banks and thrifts.

Mr. Barnard told Thomas J. Healey, Treasury Department assistant secretary for domestic finance, that he and others "thought there would be a little bit more concentarion in the regulatory process" proposed by the Bush group. He noted, for example, that the number of agencies involved in financial industry regulation and supervision would remain unchanged under their blueprint.

"Is there enough change to capture the interest and the excitement of this Congress?" Mr. Barnard asked Mr. Healey, noting that the legislators are concentrating on other areas such as interstate banking.

again referring to the Bush group's recommendations, he added that it might "take all the forces of the administration and Treasury if we hope to get this into law and not collecting dust. …

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