Magazine article American Banker

The Lobbyists: Reform Conferees Running in Place

Magazine article American Banker

The Lobbyists: Reform Conferees Running in Place

Article excerpt

House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is set to reconvene the House-Senate conference committee on financial reform today, but negotiators are struggling with even the simplest issues.

The panel's first order of business was supposed to be the speedy approval of more than 20 "noncontroversial" reform legislation items that had been reconciled by staff members. However, Republicans have taken issue with wording in a fee-disclosure requirement concerning automated teller machines, and Democrats retaliated by objecting to other items on the list.

As a result of that spat, the committee plan to vote today on only 15 provisions, including ones that would: make it easier for bank holding companies to engage in new financial activities by requiring only that they notify the Federal Reserve Board 30 days before starting such activities, let national banks directly underwrite municipal revenue bonds, and eliminate the special reserve on the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

Debate is then to begin on the need for wholesale financial institutions, consumer privacy protections, community reinvestment requirements, and Federal Home Loan Bank reform. The discussion was expected to continue Thursday, but no voting is expected. Rep. Leach this week reiterated his threat to propose his own bill if negotiators do not resolve their disputes within the next two weeks.

The list of candidates for president of America's Community Bankers has been whittled to three, sources say. The 10-member search committee is expected to meet here on Oct. 6. The committee, which is led by ACB chairwoman E. Lee Beard, is expected to hold another round of interviews soon with the aim of announcing its decision at the trade group's annual convention Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Orlando.

In an interview last week Ms. Beard would only say that the group had done five interviews recently and was still open to the possibility of considering some last-minute candidates. …

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