California lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a 10- member committee to study the effects of mergers on the state.
The legislation was drafted in response to NationsBank Corp.'s purchase of San Francisco's BankAmerica Corp., now Bank of America Corp. Lawmakers were concerned that the resulting Charlotte, N.C.-based company would curtail charitable giving and community reinvestment efforts in the state.
But the bill-which passed the Assembly last week and is now in a Senate committee-has been amended to mandate the analysis of all financial institutions that have recently entered California through acquisitions.
Aside from community reinvestment and charitable giving, the committee would study mergers' effects on the advancement of women and minority group members and on state agencies. If the committee finds that mergers have harmed the state, it could "recommend available methods or sanctions to correct the wrongs," according to a draft of the bill.
The committee also could recommend incentives for making California more attractive as a headquarters for national and international banks.
Gregory O. Wilhelm, director of government relations for the California Bankers Association, said he expects the bill to reach Gov. Gray Davis' desk this year. Still, he said, it is too soon to measure the impact of last year's mergers.
"We'll see the results two years from now," he said.