Lou Nevins, 55, lives in California, but most of the time he can be found right here in Washington, laboring away on behalf of the Golden State's savings and loan industry.

Why are California thrifts so concerned about Washington events? With memories of the thrift bailout still fresh and with the prospect of a legislative debate next year over the future of its insurance fund, that seems almost obvious.

"The membership saw that their fortunes and their future were tied very dramatically to the policy decisions that are unfolding here in Washington," Mr. Nevins said.

As a result, Mr. Nevins spends about half his time in Washington, flying back and forth between the coasts on a schedule that's dictated in large measure by what's happening in Congress.

It's a long commute, but Mr. Nevins says that's fine with him because he loves the business of lobbying.

Mr. Nevins got his first taste of the legislative process when he came to town, fresh out of the University of Pennsylvania law school, to work for the Federal Housing Administration.

"I started lobbying in my first job after the government, and I've just always been fascinated by the legislative process," Mr. Nevins said. "It's the type of work I've always been happiest doing."

Because the Cal League represents institutions with roughly a third of the thrift industry's assets. including the nation's largest thrifts, it carries great weight in Washington. To a large extent, it defines S&L issues on Capitol Hill, helping to set the agenda even for the industry's main trade group, the Savings and Community Bankers of America.

For the near term, Mr. Nevins sees the looming disparity between bank and thrift insurance premiums as the big issue for his members.

"That's certainly the No. 1 concern, trying to persuade banks that they are just going to be part of the solution, one way or another," he said.

Louis H. Nevins

President, California League of Savings Institutions

1301 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 500

Washington, D.C. 20004


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