Senate Hearing Set for FDIC Nominee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a May 9 hearing on Richard C. Houseworth's nomination to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board.A Republican, Mr. Houseworth was nominated Jan. 31 to a seat on the FDIC's five-member board that has been vacant since Oct. 1, 1998. If confirmed, he would fill an unexpired term that ends Dec. 25, 2001.

Mr. Houseworth is currently serving his second four-year term as Arizona's top banking regulator, a post he first took in January 1993. The state Banking Department employs 47 people who oversee some 2,600 companies, including state -chartered banks, thrifts, and credit unions as well as escrow agents and collection agencies. He is also the 1999-2000 chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, a professional organization for state regulators.

Mr. Houseworth spent more than 30 years as a banker, first in his native Kansas and then with Arizona Bank, which has since been acquired by Bank of America.

The FDIC job would not be his first political appointment. Former President Reagan appointed Mr. Houseworth, who goes by "Dick," to the Export-Import Bank. Later, then-President Bush appointed him to a post at the Inter-American Development Bank.

Busy May Schedule for House Banking

WASHINGTON - The House Banking Committee on Thursday released its schedule of three hearings for May.On May 3, the panel will debate legislation that would require the Federal Reserve to pay interest on bank reserves. The impact free trade with China has on financial services will be explored May 11 with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers as the lead witness. On May 25, the committee will hear testimony on predatory lending.

House Banking's financial institutions subcommittee will discuss the Fair Credit Reporting Act on May 3 and hold a field hearing May 15 in Newark, N.J., on money laundering.

The capital markets subcommittee plans a May 16 hearing on oversight of government-sponsored enterprises.

The House Commerce Committee also announced a May 4 hearing on the Financial Institutions Standards Board's plan to force merging companies to use purchase accounting over the pooling-of-interests method.

Activist Group Fights Big Japanese Merger

WASHINGTON - A community activist group is protesting the merger of Fuji Bank, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, and Industrial Bank of Japan, over their connections with predatory lenders.On Thursday, Inner City Press/Community on the Move filed a 23-page protest of the companies' merger application with the Federal Reserve Board. The group argues that the banks have a history of either affiliating with predatory lenders or providing credit to them.

"It is imperative that the Federal Reserve finally scrutinize these banks' involvement in subprime, sometimes predatory, lending," Matthew Lee, executive director of Inner City Press, said in a prepared statement.

The combination of the three banks is expected to create the world's largest financial institution, with roughly $1.27 trillion of assets. The merger is expected to close this fall.

- Barbara A. Rehm and Kevin Guerrero

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