American Bankers Association chief Donald G. Ogilvie wants to give the American Association of Retired Persons a taste of its own medicine.
In a letter sent last week to Horace Deets, the executive director of the powerful retirees' lobby, Mr. Ogilvie slammed the AARP's "continuing attacks on the ability of banks to offer annuities, investments, and insurance."
"Before AARP continues to throw rocks at banks over the sale of insurance and investment products, perhaps you should review your own disclosures," wrote Mr. Ogilvie.
The ABA executive vice president accused the senior citizens' group of supporting measures to hamper bank sales of insurance while making big bucks selling similar products to its members.
"You should disclose to Congress your conflict of interest on this issue - i.e., you compete directly with banks in the sale of these products," Mr. Ogilvie wrote.
"Our summary review of your disclosures shows that your membership is highly unlikely to be aware of the fees AARP earns on such sales," he added.
Kent Brunette, a lobbyist for the senior citizens group, said Mr. Ogilvie was off target in his criticisms, arguing that most members of Congress know that the AARP sells mutual funds.
"We don't purport to be a financial institution," he added. "We have no brick-and-mortar branches, so there is no confusion about what is insured and what is not."
Besides, Mr. Brunette said, his organization isn't asking that banks give up any activities. Instead, the group is only asking that banks submit to "functional regulation.'
With Republicans in charge, House Banking Committee Democrats have moved into a blocking role. But the Congressional Record, the official journal of proceedings on Capitol Hill, gave new meaning to the phrase "loyal opposition" in a reference to Rep. Bruce Vento - one of the panel's Democratic leaders.
In the July 13 Record, the Minnesota Democrat was referred to as Rep. "Veto."
Now that would be real power.
Open-mike night? Well, almost. The Federal Reserve Board staff turned on the microphones a bit early at last week's meeting, giving the audience a rare peek into the governors' normally hushed pre-meeting banter.
It turns out the Fed governors kid around with each other. When Governor Janet Yellen put her material in front of the wrong seat, the others were quick to tease her.
"Are you trying to destroy the protocol of this place," Gov. Edward Kelley joked in a comment clearly audible throughout the room.
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Keeping with the Fed and joke theme ... Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan drew scores of laughs during his semiannual report to a House banking subcommittee on the economy. Mr. Greenspan scored his biggest chuckle of the afternoon when he answered a question from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D- N.Y., on the future of the dollar.
"I don't think I can do it without becoming so intellectual that it would probably be a waste of your time," said a smiling Mr. Greenspan, who is well known for providing nonanswers to lawmakers' questions about interest rates, gold prices, and the dollar.
Of course, the Fed chairman was the butt of several jokes himself. One Republican congressman suggested Mr. Greenspan run for Congress. To which Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., quipped, "I don't think he wants to step down in power."
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William C. Collishaw has been appointed to the very temporary job of Resolution Trust Corp. general counsel. He will hold the post vacated last month by Ellen Kulka until the thrift-bailout agency goes out of business on Dec. 31.
Mr. Collishaw has been the RTC's deputy general counsel for business activities since January and has been a lawyer with the agency since its creation in 1991. Before he signed on with RTC he was a partner in the Washington office of the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.