Lawmakers last week stepped up political pressure on the Clinton Administration to put its shoulder behind the cause of consolidating federal bank regulatory agencies.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Donald W. Riegle, D-Mich., and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., last week introduced legislation that would combine the supervisory and regulatory functions of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of Thrift Supervision into a single Federal Banking Commission.

Riegle, D'Amato, and House Banking Committee Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez, D-Tex., sent a joint letter to President Clinton asking for his support of the measure. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House.

In a statement, D'Amato said the time had come to "eliminate the ridiculous redundancy that pervades our bank regulatory system."

Under the legislation, the FDIC would retain backup enforcement authority in its capacity as deposit insurer, while the Fed would retain all of its monetary policy, lender of last resort, and payment system responsibilities.

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