Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Banking Official Withdraws from Nationsbank Case

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Banking Official Withdraws from Nationsbank Case

Article excerpt

A top banking regulator says he won't take part in deciding whether NationsBank Corp. should be allowed to get into real estate.

The regulator, Eugene A. Ludwig, controller of the currency, cited "notoriety" surrounding a White House fund-raising event that he and the bank's head attended.

Ludwig said Thursday that he was assigning a subordinate the job of deciding on two applications that could allow NationsBank to enter the real estate development and leasing businesses. NationsBank is the countr y's fourth-largest bank and recently moved into the St. Louis market. Last May, Ludwig attended a coffee klatch at the White House sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and attended by bankers, including Hugh L. McColl Jr., the chief executive of NationsBank, based in Charlotte, N.C. "Given the notoriety of the May 13, 1996, meeting . . . there must be absolutely no question about the impartiality and fairness of the decisions on these applications," Ludwig said in a memo to Julie L. Williams, his agency's chief counsel. "Therefore, to ensure there can be no question about the integrity of the decision process, I am recusing myself from involvement." Presidential spokesman Mike McCurry said that, to his knowledge, the White House played no role in Ludwig's decision to recuse himself. …

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