Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm blasted a proposal to impose community reinvestment requirements on credit unions.

Norman E. D'Amours, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, floated the idea last week and plans to formally unveil it next month.

"Such a proposal is not authorized by law, was specifically rejected by Congress, and makes no sense," Sen. Gramm wrote Mr. D'Amours July 29. "Requiring credit unions to document the obvious, that they are serving their members, takes community reinvestment regulation to ever more absurd extremes."

Sen. Gramm defeated a similar plan last year, and reminded Mr. D'Amours that NCUA staff said then that no evidence existed of discriminatory practices by the nonprofit financial institutions.

"In other words, this would be an expensive solution to a problem that does not exist," the Texas Republican wrote.

It was another love fest for Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan on Capitol Hill over the past two weeks.

"Alan Greenspan is the greatest central banker in the history of the United States and therefore, by definition, is the greatest central banker in the history of the world," Sen. Gramm said. "Your utterances have become somewhat like the Bible."

He earned similar kudos from House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach, who dismissed suggestions that the 73-year-old Mr. Greenspan will be too old to serve another four years as chairman when his term expires in June 2000. "There is no public servant anywhere in the world that is more deserving of renomination than Alan Greenspan," Rep. Leach said.

Margie H. Muller, Maryland's bank commissioner for 13 years, died last week after a struggle with emphysema. She was 71.

Ms. Muller presided over the state's Division of Financial Regulation from 1983 to 1996. She also was chairwoman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors from 1992 to 1993. A memorial service is planned for Friday in Baltimore.

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