The American Bankers Association did not sign a letter banking, securities, and insurance industry executives sent Friday urging the House to enact financial reform legislation.
Instead, ABA president William T. McConnell sent a separate letter. He could not be reached to comment, but an ABA spokeswoman said that the letter was not meant to suggest disagreement with the other factions of the financial industry.
"We agreed with the letter and we wanted to add our own points," she said.
After meeting with senior House Republicans in New York last week, the heads of Chase Manhattan Bank, Travelers Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., and more than 20 other executives asked House Speaker Newt Gingrich to make speedy passage of a financial reform bill "one of the highest economic priorities."
"There is widespread agreement that these changes are long overdue," according to the letter.
"All of us recognize that the pending legislation is not perfect," the letter read. "But we believe that the overall goal of a financial modernization bill is of the utmost importance and that the best approach ... is to treat those areas of disagreement as problems to be addressed, identified, and solved."
David A. Coulter, chairman of Bank of America, is the only other banker who was present at the meeting but did not sign the joint letter.
Mr. McConnell's letter stated that though the ABA continues "to have problems with specific provisions" of the bill, "we are encouraged by the progress that has been made."
He added: "Much continues to be done, but we are prepared to work hard to iron out differences among the interested parties."
Mr. McConnell-who attended the powwow last week of top financial industry service executives-also noted that the rush to obtain thrift charters by securities and insurance firms as well as units of commercial companies such as General Electric Co. and Ford Motor Co. makes legislation essential.
"If no legislation is enacted this year, I believe our country, somewhat by default, will have moved inevitably toward the full integration of banking and commerce and will have done so, ironically, at the very time such integration is being cited as a major contributor to problems in the economies of Asian countries," he wrote.