The House is expected to approve a regulatory relief bill for banks by Friday, but whether the Senate will have time to act before adjournment this weekend remains uncertain.

Reviving the bill's chances, Republican members of the House Banking Committee agreed Tuesday to remove a controversial provision that would exempt banks with under $250 million of assets from the Community Reinvestment Act. In return, Rep. Leach agreed to hold hearings on CRA next year, a committee spokesman said.

Another change is expected in order to quell controversy. Payment of interest on business checking accounts would not be permitted until Oct. 1, 2004-three years later than the version a House Banking subcommittee approved in August. In the interim, the legislation would expand sweep accounts by letting corporations make up to 24 withdrawals per month from money market deposit accounts. Currently, only six monthly withdrawals are permitted.

Whether the Senate will agree to these changes or push its own regulatory relief bill is unclear-if it has time to act at all, a Senate Banking Committee staffer said. Both bills would let the Federal Reserve Board pay interest on required and excess reserves, but the Senate bill is broader and would permit payment of interest on business checking starting Jan. 1, 2001.

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