House Majority Leader Richard Armey said he hopes to bring legislation capitalizing the Savings Association Insurance Fund to a vote today and send it to the Senate for a vote this weekend.
Lawmakers wrapped up the last two pieces of the thrift fund package on Wednesday, agreeing to prohibit Farm Credit System banks from owning credit unions and to ban deposit insurance for the retirement CD.
The package, expected to be tacked on to an omnimbus spending bill, also would provide regulatory relief and protect lenders from borrowers' toxic- cleanup costs.
The regulatory relief package eases more than 30 federal paperwork and compliance rules. Major provisions include:
*Directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve to streamline Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rules.
*Allowing the Federal Reserve Board to exempt any class of loans from the Truth-in-Lending Act.
*Repealing civil liability for violation of the Truth-in-Savings Act.
*Increasing the size of institutions exempt from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act from $10 million in assets to $50 million.
*Protecting banks that self-test for Equal Credit Opportunity Act compliance from penalties if corrective action is taken when violations are found.
*Eliminating application requirements for new automated teller machines.
American Bankers Association chief lobbyist Edward L. Yingling hailed Republican leaders' decision to include the regulatory relief provisions. The Independent Insurance Agents of America lobbied hard to convince lawmakers to either drop the regulatory relief package or force national banks to get state licenses for all employees selling insurance.
Although the agents' effort failed, the insurance industry did get one victory with a ban on deposit insurance for the so-called retirement CD. The prohibition was sufficient to end the American Council of Life Insurers' opposition to the bill.
"The Republican leadership made a decision to spilt the insurance industry," Mr. Yingling said. "Hopefully this will put the final nail in the agents' coffin."
Kenneth A. Guenther, executive vice president of the Independent Bankers Association of America, praised provisions barring the Farm Credit System and other government sponsored enterprises from launching credit unions.
"The Farm Credit System is aggressively trying to extend its reach by sponsoring a credit union in Wisconsin," he said. "This combination throughout rural America would be very difficult for community banks to compete against."
Also included in the bill are restrictions on shifting deposits from SAIF to the Bank Insurance Fund and on disclosure of consumer credit reports.
The thrift fund fix calls for a $4.7 billion assessment on thrift deposits. The legislation also requires banks to share the cost of paying off Financing Corp. bonds. In 1997, banks will pay $320 million of the $780 million tab. In 2000, the industy share jumps to $585 million.