WASHINGTON - The White House will soon nominate a replacement for controversial National Credit Union Administration director Robert Swan, whose six-year appointment ended last week, industry and agency sources said.

President Clinton is expected to choose a candidate this month, and a confirmation hearing for the Democratic seat could be held by the Senate Banking Committee in September, an agency source said.

"We're in the process of interviewing candidates to make a recommendation," said Charles Duncan, associate director of the office of presidential personnel. "We have yet to make a recommendation."

Mr. Duncan would not name candidates or give a timetable, but said White House staff were working "as quickly as possible."

The seat is an important one. Mr. Swan has often opposed NCUA Chairman Norman E. D'Amours, forcing the top regulator to compromise with the third director, Shirlee P. Bowne, in order to approve regulations by a 2-to-1 vote.

Industry and agency sources identified several contenders for Mr. Swan's seat:

*Geoff Bacino, an independent lobbyist who has served stints at NCUA, the Credit Union National Association, and the National Association of State Chartered Credit Unions.

*Yolanda Townshend Wheat, a Harvard-educated lawyer and wife of former Missouri Democratic congressman Alan Wheat.

*Jim Williams, president of Carbide Seadrift Employees Federal Credit Union, a $27 million-asset institution in Port Lavaca, Tex. Mr. Williams also was president of CUNA from 1979 until 1987.

*A.C. Cowans, chief executive of McCoy Federal Credit Union, a $117 million-asset institution in Orlando, Fla.

*William Griffin, special assistant to the commissioner of the Maryland Division of Financial Regulation.

*Richard Turnley, chief executive of Southern Teachers and Parents Federal Credit Union, a $14 million-asset institution in Baton Rouge, La.

Industry sources pointed to Mr. Bacino, Ms. Wheat, and Mr. Williams as front-runners, because all are well connected politically.

Mr. Bacino's job is his edge. He lobbies for a subsidiary of American Holding Inc., which is led by Bernard Rapoport, a large contributor to the Democratic party.

Ms. Wheat's asset is her husband, who, in a failed senatorial campaign, asked President Clinton to campaign on his behalf when other candidates were trying to distance themselves from the President.

Mr. Williams, meanwhile, is friends with Brooke Shearer, a former CUNA employee who is married to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

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