Fed Chief Hearings Expected to Continue

WASHINGTON - President Clinton is expected to sign legislation soon that would preserve for an additional six months the requirement that the Federal Reserve Board chairman testify on the economy twice a year before Congress.The law requiring so-called "Humphrey-Hawkins" testimony, along with the Fed's annual survey of bank fees and services and about 3,000 other government-mandated reports, is to expire in mid-December. But the House and Senate tacked onto the catchall spending bill it passed last week an extension of all these reporting requirements until May 15.

Enactment of the temporary provision would mean that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan would have to testify in February as usual before the House and Senate Banking committees.

The House also passed a bill in October offered by Banking Chairman Jim Leach that would make permanent the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony and nearly 50 other reports on banking or housing issues, but the Senate did not act on it. Senate Banking Chairman Phil Gramm has opposed continuing the testimony and reports, but his spokesman said Tuesday that the committee will consider the House bill next year.

- Dean Anason


Texas, Alaska Name Top Banking Regulators

WASHINGTON - Texas and Alaska recently named banking commissioners. Randall S. James now leads Texas' regulatory agencies, and Franklin T. "Terry" Elder is chief of Alaska's.Mr. James, who was a bank examiner at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from 1970 to 1980, spent 11 years in the private sector before returning to the regulatory world in 1991 as deputy commissioner of the Texas Banking Department. He became commissioner Nov. 4 but had been acting commissioner since July.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Mr. James also studied at Southern Methodist University's Graduate School of Banking and in the Texas governor's executive development program.

Mr. Elder, who had been acting director of the Alaska Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations since last summer, was formally appointed to the post last week.

He joined the division as a securities examiner in 1994 and was named a senior examiner in 1997. He has been deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development and an economist in the state Division of Budget and Management and Department of Labor.

Before entering public service, Mr. Elder spent 12 years in the investment business, which included work as an economist for First National Bank of Chicago. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and two master's degrees, one in business from Loyola University and in economics, from DePaul University.

- Rob Garver


Spy Agency Vet Joins Web Security Firm

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Kravitz, a veteran of the National Security Agency and the digital certification company Certco Inc., has joined Wave Systems Corp. as chief scientist.Wave Systems, developer of a "trusted client" system designed to ensure secure delivery of digital goods and services to authorized buyers, said Mr. Kravitz will focus on enhancing the Embedded Application Security System, known as Embassy.

Wave recently announced that a French banking and e-commerce consortium, Cyber-COMM, had selected Embassy to be part of a digital authentication system revolving around smart cards.

During 11 years at the National Security Agency, Mr. Kravitz invented the DSA, or digital signature algorithm, used in a federal digital signature standard. Besides Certco, where he worked on micropayments security, he was also employed by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and DIVX, where he designed security systems for set-top boxes and personal computers.

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