Playing for Keeps

Washington is apparently not big enough for two powerful trade groups.

Jerry Giovaniello, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Realtors, called foul when the American Bankers Association went head-to-head with his group last week on Capitol Hill.

The bankers' weapon of choice - about 535 Monopoly games.

ABA officials went to Capitol Hill during the Realtors' lobbying week to distribute the Monopoly boards with a flier that declared: "In the real estate game, the more players the better."

Hundreds of Realtors were in town for a legislative conference and lobbying blitz against a Federal Reserve Board and Treasury Department proposal issued in December to let financial holding companies and banks' financial subsidiaries sell and manage real estate.

"There's an unwritten rule here: Don't mess around with what other associations are doing," Mr. Giovaniello told the Realtors, who countered with their own toy: a giant blow-up octopus that is said to symbolize the tentacles of the banking industry trying to wrap around their business.

The octopus was at the group's hotel - along with buttons festooned with the sea creature - but did not make a trip to Capitol Hill. All that members of Congress got from the Realtors, a spokesman for the group said, was "an earful."

Going to the Lobby

Frank Maguire, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay's top banking (as well as tax, budget, and Social Security) aide, is leaving Capitol Hill next month to become a partner in the Rhoads Group lobbying firm, which will change its name to Rhoads Maguire Group.

Mr. Maguire, a former senior deputy comptroller of the currency who more than once served as acting comptroller, went to work for Rep. DeLay three years ago to help Republican leaders push what would become the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 through the legislative maze.

At Rhoads Maguire, Mr. Maguire will lobby on tax and finance issues.

2 for SIABoard

Steven D. Black, global head of institutional equities for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and James D. Price, president of Prudential Securities Inc., were named last week to the Securities Industry Association's board.

The two will fill the vacancies resulting from the resignations of Jolyne Caruso-Fitzgerald, formerly chairman and president of J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., and A. Laurence Norton Jr., an executive vice president at Prudential Securities.

Before joining Morgan Chase last year, Mr. Black had been vice chairman and chief operating officer of Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney unit. Mr. Price has been president of Prudential Securities since October.

Some Heroic Praise

She doesn't have bullet-reflecting bracelets or fly in an invisible jet, but at least one senior regulator is already calling Elizabeth McCaul, the new chairwoman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, "Wonder Woman."

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Donna Tanoue praised Ms. McCaul with that superheroine sobriquet while extolling her accomplishments as superintendent of the New York State Banking Department in a speech before the supervisors group last week.

Ms. McCaul was named for a one-year term as the group's chairman during its annual conference Thursday.

"During her first days on the job … she had to deal with the failure of Nationar, which provided liquidity and processing for hundreds of institutions," Ms. Tanoue said. "She successfully resolved that failure. She's been going strong ever since."

Ms. McCaul succeeded Tom Curry, commissioner of banks in Massachusetts.

The Next Governor?

Kansas insurance commissioner Kathleen Sebelius may have her eye on higher office.

Rumors have circulated around Topeka and Washington that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners president is mulling a run for governor next year. The incumbent, Bill Graves, a Republican, cannot run again because of term limits.

Ms. Sebelius is a rare bird in Kansas - a successful Democrat. Burdett Loomis, a professor of political science at the University of Kansas, recently called her "the only legitimate Democratic gubernatorial candidate on the horizon" in The Topeka Capital-Journal.

That may be because Republicans far outnumber Democrats in the state offices, the Legislature, and the state's congressional delegation.

Ms. Sebelius has neither quashed the rumors nor committed to the race.

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