Treasury Under Secretary John D. Hawke Jr. slammed the insurance provisions in House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach's latest Glass-Steagall bill.

The provisions would freeze national bank insurance powers as of Jan. 1, Mr. Hawke said Thursday during a Women in Housing and Finance luncheon. "That is utterly without principle and totally indefensible," Mr. Hawke said.

The provisions would serve only "a relatively small group of very large banks that are happy with what they've got in the insurance area," he added.

Separately, the American Council of Life Insurance has decided to oppose the Leach bill. In a May 7 letter to the Iowa Republican, ACLI president Carroll A. Campbell said the provision allowing common ownership of banks and insurance companies is "inadequate and possibly unworkable."

In a speech Thursday, Rep. Leach said he remains "hopeful" that he can muster enough bank and insurance industry support to persuade House leaders to allow a vote on his bill.

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