Chairman Jim Leach predicted the House Banking Committee will vote on financial reform legislation by the end of March.

On Wednesday, Rep. Leach said the committee will hold at least three hearings on the bill. The first two, Feb. 10 and 11, will feature testimony from industry officials and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. The date for a third hearing featuring other regulators has not been set.

Rep. Leach said he is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for financial reform this year. He reiterated his opposition to banks' and commercial businesses' owning each other.

"I cannot in good conscience send a bill to the President which jeopardizes the taxpayers and does more harm than good to the American economy," the Iowa Republican said at an Exchequer Club luncheon.

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