WASHINGTON - House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach appears ready to compromise on legislation aimed at eliminating the special powers enjoyed by holding companies that own only one thrift.
Thrift industry leaders who met with the Iowa Republican Friday said Rep. Leach won't remove language on the so-called unitaries from his Glass- Steagall repeal bill. However, he did indicate he was willing to exempt, or "grandfather," existing unitary thrift holding companies.
"He agreed to consider the suggestion that, for companies in the business - we should find a way to protect them," said Patrick Forte, president of the Association of Financial Services Holding Companies.
Mr. Forte, whose members include a number of unitary thrifts, said he has yet to see a situation in which grandfathering really worked. But he said he was hopeful that a workable solution may be found in this case.
Richard Greenwood, the trade group's chairman and president of Fidelity Bank, Glendale, Calif., said a number of issues remained unclear. Among them, he said, was the issue of whether any grandfather rights granted in the bill would be transferable in the event a thrift is sold.
Rep. Leach's major concern about unitaries is their ability to affiliate with commercial and industrial concerns that are otherwise barred from owning insured institutions.