WASHINGTON -- Deputy Treasury Secretary John Robson on Monday blasted a provision in the 1991 banking law that lets regulators limit bank executive's pay.
"Meddling directly in executive compensation matters ought to be absolutely off limits for government," Mr. Robson said at a meeting of the Savings and Community Bankers of America.
His comment was the latest in a series of attacks by Bush administration officials on what they consider overregulation in banking. The Treasury Department is expected to introduce legislation as early as this week, aimed at eliminating about 30 rules, including the one on executive pay levels.
Limits on Tax Breaks
Mr. Robson also lambasted pending proposals to limit the tax deductibility of executive compensation and to fix top salaries at a multiple of the lowest in an organization.
"We have too many lawyers, too many accountants, too many forms, too many reports, too many delayed decisions, too many regulators, and too many burdensome complexities," Mr. Robson boomed. "And like swarms of locusts they are devouring the crops of economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurism."
Mr. Robson called critics of the administration's regulatory relief campaign "regu-centrics" who "wave the bloody shirt of the S&L crisis" to fend off deregulators.
The administrations will not roll back rules that ensure banks are operated safely, Mr. Robson.
He would like Congress to extend for two years the July 1 deadline for thrifts to divest real estate subsidiaries.
And he reiterated an earlier admonition to regulators that overly strict loan-to-value limits for real estate loans could exacerbate the credit crunch. Regulators were mandated by the 1991 banking law to come up with industry-wide underwriting standards for real estate lending.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will propose its real estate lending standards at an open meeting today.
War on Excess Regulation
The administration began its war against unneeded regulation in January when President Bush announced a moratorium on new regulations.
Since then, Mr. Robson noted, regulators have decided to let thrifts branch nationwide; cut the amount of capital banks need to hold against construction loans; clarified lenders' liability for environmental cleanups; and reduced the number of loans for which banks need certified appraisals.