A coalition of banking and securities groups Tuesday praised House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach's latest Glass-Steagall reform plan but didn't endorse it.

The Alliance for Financial Modernization, whose members include the American Bankers Association and the Securities Industry Association, praised the bill because it would allow common ownership of banks and insurance companies.

By letting banks and insurance companies affiliate, Rep. Leach's legislation would make a "significant move in the direction of achieving modernization of the out-of-date laws that govern the financial services industry," according to an April 16 letter to House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

However, the alliance did not endorse Rep. Leach's bill because individual groups are "still reviewing" the proposal, according to the letter.

America's Community Bankers, an alliance member, already is on record as supporting the bill. In an April 12 letter to Rep. Leach, ACB president Paul A. Schosberg called plan developed by the banking panel's chairman "a progressive step toward financial modernization."

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