Democrats are expected to tap Reps.-elect Anthony D. Weiner of New York and Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts for the House Banking Committee today.

Who will fill the rest of the seven minority openings on the panel remains unclear, but freshmen are expected to take most-if not all-of them.

Including the seven freshmen that Republicans selected last month, nearly one-quarter of the committee's 60 seats are expected to be filled by members who will have to get up to speed on financial reform and other complex issues.

Reps.-elect Weiner and Capuano have the inside track because they are succeeding prominent committee members, Rep. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2d, respectively. "They are lobbying to get on" and have met with Rep. John J. LaFalce, the committee's ranking minority member, a Democratic staff member said.

A former Schumer aide, Rep.-elect Weiner, 34, hails from Brooklyn and has been on the New York City Council since 1992. Rep.-elect Capuano, 46, is a five-term mayor of Somerville, Mass.

The Democratic openings were created by Rep. Schumer's move to the Senate, Rep. Kennedy's retirement, and the departure of five members to other committees. Reps. Maurice D. Hinchey, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, and Lucille Roybal-Allard are moving to the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Thomas M. Barrett is joining the Commerce Committee.

The American Council of Life Insurance cut 20 jobs, or nearly 10% of its work force, after the recent defection of one of its largest members.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. is not renewing its membership for 1999; it complained about excessive dues and the trade group's surrendering too easily on a provision of financial reform legislation that would have eased the mutual life insurance company's conversion to a stock-issuing company.

The defection will cost the trade group $3.1 million, or 8% of its annual revenue, a spokesman said.

As a result, the group is eliminating 15 jobs, leaving five vacancies unfilled, and accelerating cost-cutting programs already under way. The cuts are primarily administrative and will not involve its lobbying or member services departments, the spokesman said.

Separately, lobbyist and former Rep. Jimmy Hayes will leave the group next month to join the Washington office of a New Orleans law firm, Adams and Reese.

The Financial Services Council has created a task force to tackle privacy legislation. "The whole purpose is to get out ahead of the curve," said Samuel J. Baptista, the group's president.

Bank One Corp. lobbyist Annie Hall will spearhead the effort. "This is the kind of thing that can break the business if this isn't handled right," she said.

Christine F. Hesse, legislative counsel to Sen. Lauch Faircloth, the North Carolina Republican who lost his reelection bid last month, has been hired as a banking lobbyist by the Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld law firm.

The Washington firm's clients include Citigroup, Bank of New York, and Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. Ms. Hesse is to start in February after a maternity leave.

Retiring House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald B.H. Solomon and two of his aides are forming a lobbying firm specializing in financial services. It is to affiliate with the firm of former Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev.

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