House and Senate lawmakers are scheduled to begin today the arduous process of reconciling their rival financial reform bills.

The House Banking Committee is to play host to the historic event. It is the first conference committee to address removal of the remaining barriers separating the banking, insurance, and securities industries.

Organizational business will be first on the agenda. House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is expected to be named head of the 62-member joint panel. Opening remarks are to follow, with Rep. Leach and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm expected to emphasize the many points on which their bills agree. Substantive negotiations will start after the August congressional recess.

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