found time between lowering bank premiums and reshaping her agency for a close encounter of the third kind. The proof is in a large display for the Combined Federal Campaign, a government employees charity drive, now on view in the lobby of FDIC headquarters. Ms. Helfer is seen smilingly accepting a check from a three-eyed creature, under the headline "Space Aliens Meet FDIC Chairman." The alien being looks suspiciously like the one who, according to the supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, has held meetings with a number of top political leaders and revealed that several members of the U.S. Senate are in fact beings from another planet.

*** The National Law Journal has tagged Robert J. Giuffra Jr., chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, as one of the country's "rising stars in the law." A story in the legal weekly's Nov. 20 edition - which Mr. Giuffra was kind enough to fax to American Banker - said he was one of 40 under-40 attorneys "whose accomplishments left the majority of their peers in the dust." Mr. Giuffra, a 35-year-old Yale Law School graduate, drafted Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato's Glass-Steagall bill and is running the New York Republican's Whitewater investigation. But in his Law Journal citation, those accomplishments were given second billing to some things Mr. Giuffra did before he joined the banking committee last January. The most notable: As an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, he got a court to overturn the mail fraud conviction of Armand D'Amato, the senator's brother.

*** Federal regulators from the four banking and thrift agencies called a press conference last week to unveil instructions to examiners who will be implementing the new Community Reinvestment Act rules. But the quartet was missing a player. The so-often slighted Office of Thrift Supervision was not represented at the press briefing, held at the Comptroller of the Currency's Office. It appears a combination of factors led to the thrift agency's exclusion. But OTS officials aren't taking it too hard. William Fulwider, an agency spokesman, said there aren't any hurt feelings. The same apparently isn't true for Glenn E. Loney, the Federal Reserve Board's associate director of consumer and community affairs. Mr. Loney made headlines recently when a memo he wrote surfaced. It blasted Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig's proposed changes to the CRA guidelines. Once the press conference ended, Mr. Loney made a beeline for the door, forgoing the customary chatting with other regulators or reporters. His boss, Griffith Garwood, stuck around, presumably to mend fences with the Comptroller's people.

*** House Banking Chairman Jim Leach weighed in last week on the budget impasse that has shut down the government. "The big secret in Washington that Republicans won't acknowledge and Democrats won't admit is that the rhetoric of the parties doesn't fit the circumstance," Rep. Leach said on the House floor. "The change in course that is underway in Congress is neither as revolutionary as conservative leaders suggest nor as radical as the liberals would have it." Instead the GOP plan to balance the budget by 2002 is "a modest objective," the Iowa Republican said in his six-page Nov. 14 statement.

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