Congress should exempt banks from a bill that would impose tough auditing requirements on administrators of retirement plans, a bank executive testified Thursday.

Charles H. Leibold, a vice president of Bankers Trust Co. of Des Moines, told a House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee that audits should be required only of trustees not regulated by the state or federal government.

"Current bank regulation-together with extensive supervision, examination, and enforcement of the bank regulatory agencies-makes the provision unnecessary for banks and trust companies," said Mr. Leibold, who testified on behalf of the American Bankers Association.

Under current law, banks and trust companies that manage employee benefit plans may self-certify that they have procedures and controls that prevent fraud. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., the subcommittee chairman, last summer introduced a bill that would require the financial institutions to back up their statements with an audit.

Mr. Leibold said the bill disproportionately would hurt small banks, which typically outsource auditing services and which already undergo a bankwide audit every year.

"For many small banks like my own, this legislation would force us to begin to obtain a very expensive accounting report, which in many cases would be a duplicative effort," Mr. Leibold said.

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