The savings and loan industry has at least one staunch friend on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Floyd H. Flake, D-N.Y., who was speaking at the Savings and Community Bankers Association convention in New Orleans last week, said he will fight for the thrift industry's survival bcause it serves depressed neighborhoods better than community banks.

Rep. Flake also said he was concerned about congressional meddling with the derivatives markets because the hedging devices are used by nonbanks to offset the risk of loans to innercity neighborhoods.

Curbs on derivatives might exacerbate the credit crunch in those areas, he said.

Treasury under secretary Frank N. Newman protested mightily when Senate Banking Committee chairman Donald W. Riegle, D-Mich., insisted that they hammer out an interstate and insurance bill by Nov. 18.

The time frame was awfully short, Mr. Newman said.

But it's not as if the department were starting from scratch on the bill. Assistant Treasury secretary Richard S. Carnell, now an assistant Treasury secretary, was the Senate committee's general counsel until early this year.

In that position, he was the legislative architect who presided over the 1991 banking bill - which contained the interstate and insurance provisions that are the starting point for this year's efforts.

Working with Mr. Carnell on the unsuccessful 1991 effort was Konrad Alt, who also left the Senate this year - to become a top aide to Eugene A. Ludwig, the comptroller of the currency.

Both Mr. Ludwig and Mr. Newman agreed to Sen. Riegle's request to begin talks, but the Treasury official made it clear he wasn't happy. "I guess we're just going to have to stop going home at 2:30 every afternoon," he said.

An otherwise dull Federal Reserve meeting last week was brightened when Governor Lawrence B. Lindsey passed around a photo of his new son. He and his wife, Susan, just returned from Bulgaria, where they adopted the 2-year-old, named Troy.

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