Political bickering has blocked the appointment of 24 Federal Home Loan bank officials.

At a contentious meeting this week of the agency overseeing the Home Loan banks, two Republican board members prevented the appointments of the 12 chairmen, as well as 12 directors.

It was unclear whether the board would consider the same 24 candidates again or turn to a new slate.

The discord at Tuesday's Federal Housing Finance Board meeting centered on two appointments backed by its Democratic chairman, Bruce Morrison.

Mr. Morrison had tapped Michael Boyle, a director of the Topeka Home Loan Bank, to replace former Nebraska GOP senator David Kearns as chairman of the bank's board.

And Charles E. McLean, director of housing development at the Victim Services Agency in New York, was chosen to replace Michael M. Horn, a partner at New Jersey law firm McCarter & English, as a director at the New York bank.

However, Finance Board members J. Timothy O'Neill and Lawrence U. Costiglio, who objected to replacing Mr. Kearns and Mr. Horn, asked that the vote be postponed.

"We should defer this to the next meeting, because we have not yet gotten the entire slate set," Mr. O'Neill argued.

But Mr. Morrison refused.

"We have agreement on 22 out of the 24 slots, and part of our job as a regulatory body is to see these appointments are made in a timely fashion," Mr. Morrison said.

The appointments were supposed to be completed by Dec. 31.

However, Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Costiglio blocked all 24 appointments by voting "no" on each one. The fourth member, Nicolas Retsinas, voted with Mr. Morrison, but a 2-2 tie defeats motions at the Finance Board.

"I find this to be very disturbing," Mr. Morrison said. "I would rather not tell the system that our political differences are bigger than our regulatory responsibilities."

Until permanent chairmen are appointed, the vice chairmen of the 12 Federal Home Loan bank boards will be acting chairmen. This poses a problem, Mr. Morrison said, because the chairmen are supposed to gather Feb. 7 and 8 in Washington to discuss legislative issues facing the system.

Because the vice chairmen of the district boards are all bank and thrift industry representatives, Mr. Morrison said he is concerned that the discussion will lack the perspective brought by the chairmen who represent public interest and community groups.

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