The House Banking Committee will vote on financial services reform in early June, even if the Clinton administration has not weighed in by then, Rep. Jim Leach said Wednesday.
The Banking Committee chairman said he wants Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to testify before his committee on June 3, whether or not the administration has completed its industry modernization plan.
"It remains my intention to move to a committee vote, then to take the bill to the House floor this summer," Rep. Leach said at a hearing Wednesday, the first in a series he has scheduled.
In an interview, Rep. Leach said he is making progress on a compromise bill, but predicted a dispute over allowing mergers between banks and nonfinancial firms would remain an "explosive" issue that can be settled only by a committee vote.
At the hearing, Independent Bankers Association of America president Bill Sones warned that plans to let banks merge with commercial firms would lead to industry concentration and "hurt consumers, small businesses, farmers, and ranchers."
American Bankers Association president-elect William T. McConnell, on the other hand, said banks should be allowed to invest in a limited amount of nonfinancial businesses as long as the Federal Reserve has "some role" in supervising diversified financial firms.
Paul A. Schosberg, president of America's Community Bankers, urged lawmakers to allow unlimited affiliation between banks and commercial firms.