Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin last week urged House leaders to block a vote on a thrift fund rescue/regulatory relief bill sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach.

But Majority Leader Richard Armey insisted the bill will stay on track for a floor vote this week. Sources said Rep. Armey is backing Rep. Leach because House leaders feel obligated to give the Iowa Republican one last chance to pass major legislation.

In a meeting with the Texas Republican on Thursday night, Mr. Rubin complained that regulatory relief provisions in Rep. Leach's bill will weaken consumer protection rules. He also criticized new rules for bank insurance sales and a ban on thrifts' shifting deposits to bank affiliates.

Mr. Rubin asked Rep. Armey to consider a simple thrift fund rescue or wait for the Senate's version of the bill to make its way to the House. That bill, to be put forth Monday, is expected to contain the rescue and some limited regulatory relief.

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Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig looked a little foolish last week when Rep. Leach asked his opinion of legislation to shore up the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

"I am not part of BIF/SAIF," Mr. Ludwig responded during a committee hearing on consumer credit.

"You are a member of the FDIC board, aren't you?" Rep. Leach asked. (The FDIC board oversees both SAIF and the Bank Insurance Fund).

Acknowledging he does sit on the five-member board, Mr. Ludwig said he supports the thrift fund rescue but that he opposes Rep. Leach's bill because it does not prevent state insurance regulators from discriminating against national banks.

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The National Association of Federal Credit Unions desperately wants Congress to overturn a July court decision narrowing the industry's common bond law. The decision said AT&T Family Federal Credit Union may not accept members who work for companies unrelated to the telecommunications giant.

After meeting with Rep. Leach and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato last week, NAFCU president Ken Robinson sent out an interesting news release Friday.

"It's an all-out war; the bankers are trying to kill you," NAFCU quoted Sen. D'Amato as saying. "I am with you; I'm going to work with you."

Still both lawmakers told Mr. Robinson that there is not enough time to act before Congress adjourns late this month. NAFCU quoted Rep. Leach as saying, "We'd prefer a judicial solution in your favor."

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From S&Ls to SNL? Ana Gasteyer, the 28-year-old daughter of retired thrift lobbyist Phil Gasteyer, becomes a member of the "Saturday Night Live" cast when its 22d season kicks off Sept. 28.

Mr. Gasteyer, who left America's Community Bankers last December, said he does not watch the comedy show. "The only thing 'live from New York' that we deal with on Saturdays is the Metropolitan Opera in the afternoons," he said. "I suppose we'll learn how to program the VCR."

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Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Ricki Helfer, who worries about the high level of consumer debt, told reporters last week, "I pay my credit cards off every month." Asked about credit card issuers' levying of fees on customers who pay on time, Ms. Helfer responded, "If one of my companies did that, I'd switch cards."

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