Washington -- Rep. Esteban E. Torres, an influential member of the House Banking Committee, plans to leave the panel next year for the Appropriations Committee.

"I've decided to campaign for the seat," said Rep. Torres, a California Democrat who chairs the banking subcommittee on consumer affairs and coinage.

Rep. Torres was asked to seek the change by members of the California delegation. He would fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Rep. Edward R. Roybal, D-Calif., with support from the House Democratic leadership.

A Staunch Liberal

Although Rep. Torres and his staff had developed a reasonably good working relationship with the banking industry, the congressman was a staunch liberal and bankers are unlikely to mourn his departure.

The appropriations panel is among the most powerful in the House, because of its control over government purse strings.

But Rep. Torres would lack seniority and could go years until achieving a subcommittee chairmanship.

Turning in a High Ranking

With the turnover expected on the banking committee. Mr. Torres would have ranked between sixth and ninth among the 52 members, depending on election results.

The southern Californian was reported by several sources to be unhappy with the banking committee, particularly its staff's treatment of an amendment this year that gives the industry more time to comply with Truth-in-Savings rules. Mr. Torres oversaw passage of the 1991 law.

"Obviously I was disappointed," Mr. Torres said. "But I am not at all bitter about the banking committee. In terms of service, and my larger areas of concern, I thought I could do more on Appropriations."

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