For the first time ever, the House approved legislation May 13 that would overhaul the financial services industry and allow mergers among banking, securities, and insurance firms.

Lawmakers approved the bill 214 to 213 on the strength of strong lobbying by Speaker Newt Gingrich. But prospects for enactment are slim this year. The Senate is preoccupied with other issues, and the Clinton administration remains adamantly opposed to a provision requiring banks to enter new businesses through holding company units.

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