Acting Comptroller of the Currency Julie L. Williams used a speech to the Tennessee Bankers Association Monday to rally industry opposition to the financial reform legislation pending in Congress.

"HR 10 is still very much in play - and thus, so is your future," Ms. Williams said.

The House approved HR 10 by one vote on May 13. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the bill June 17, but most sources agree there is not enough time left on the legislative calendar for enactment this year.

The Comptroller's Office opposes the measure because it would force banks to house most new activities in holding company units. Barring banks from using direct operating subsidiaries for insurance or securities underwriting would reduce the comptroller's influence over new products. "For many banks, the subsidiary will be the simpler and less costly organizational alternative," Ms. Williams said.

She rebutted claims that holding company units would be a safer place for new activities, noting that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. officials have said revenue from new products and services should reduce the probability of bank failures.

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