those of bank-trade groups that support an overhaul of the nation's banking laws. In a seven-page letter to the House Banking Committee, the association of professionals from more than 3,000 companies and organizations made a case for a more efficient financial-services industry, and addressed pending legislative issues, including Glass-Steagall reform and capital markets deregulation. The letter was sent to Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach, R-Iowa. While some observers are writing off any chance for major banking reform this year, the letter could add momentum to legislative efforts, said Frank P. Curran, the trade group's director of government relations and standards. "It's not just a bunch of bankers asking for this and a couple of members of large companies. These are the views of a prominent number of large bank customers," he said. Much of the organization's wish list addressed systemic inefficiencies that distract from the mission of corporations, Mr. Curran said. The treasurers' group advocated an amendment to the Riegle-Neal interstate banking act to prohibit states from opting out of interstate branching. A large, multistate company can expect to save over a half million dollars per year in banking service charges when nationwide banking becomes a reality, the association estimated. Additionally, the association lent its support to Glass-Steagall reform, proposing that financial services organizations offer an unrestricted range of financial services and products. "Allowing business to engage in a broader array of financial services activities will further strengthen the industry through diversification and stability in earnings," the association wrote. Mr. Curran said that corporations continue to be frustrated by Regulation Q, which prohibits banks from paying interest on demand deposits. Even though most of the regulation has been removed, some vestige remains. "Regulation Q makes companies invent artificial devices like sweep accounts to get around something that doesn't make sense in the first place," the spokesman said. The letter also supports a bill introduced by Rep. Jack Fields, R-Tex., aimed at simplifying and coordinating state securities laws. The bill includes a national preemption over state securities laws, an easing of prospectus requirements for initial public offerings, an ending of duplicate regulatory oversight, and measures to streamline financial regulations. The association plans to send the letter to the Senate Banking Committee and various federal agencies.
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