If President Clinton has his way, today will be Lawrence U. Costiglio's last day as a member of the Federal Housing Finance Board.

White House officials gave Mr. Costiglio his walking papers on March 9, but he has vowed to stay in the job he has held since 1990 until a successor has been confirmed.

Mr. Costiglio, who has frequently clashed with Finance Board Chairman Morrison, said last week that he has not decided whether to simply continue showing up for work or challenge his firing in court.

Taking on the President may seem a hopeless task, but Mr. Costiglio has a powerful ally on Capitol Hill. Senate Banking Chairman D'Amato has derided the firing as "legally dubious" and pledged a "vigorous investigation."

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Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y., has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to consider Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr.'s re-nomination.

The White House announced earlier this month that it planned to keep Mr. Levitt at the SEC for another five years. His first term expires June 5.

While Senate Banking is whisking Mr. Levitt through the process, the committee has yet to consider Donna Tanoue's nomination to be Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman. More than four months have passed since President Clinton tapped the Hawaii banking lawyer for the job.

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Two industry players are in the running to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ireland-lobbyist Paul S. Quinn and Federal Housing Finance Board Chairman Bruce Morrison.

Mr. Quinn, whose clients include Fleet Financial Corp., is a partner at the Washington law firm Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer & Quinn. He also is a prominent consultant and fund-raiser for the Democratic Party and is active in Irish-American business and charitable organizations. He also has played a behind-the-scenes role in Irish peace talks.

Mr. Quinn's candidacy has been endorsed by a host of lawmakers including the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs.

Mr. Morrison is a former congressman who sponsored legislation to help Irish immigrants obtain U.S. visas and has also been involved in peace talks.

Other candidates on the Clinton administration's list include Education Secretary Richard Riley, former AFL-CIO treasurer Tom Donahue, and Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan.

"There's a lot of competition," Mr. Quinn said Friday.

The scramble for the job began March 15 when ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith announced she would retire in July.

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What's going on at the National Credit Union Administration? Unlike the staid meetings of the Federal Reserve or the FDIC, the credit union agency's meetings often put the tension among its three members on public display.

Tempers flared at last week's meeting when board member Yolanda T. Wheat and Chairman Norman E. D'Amours disagreed over whether to put off a vote on a rule requiring credit unions to reinvest in their communities.

Possibly contributing to the friction, key credit union players- including fellow board member Dennis Dollar -say they've heard Ms. Wheat wants Mr. D'Amours' job. And many in the movement wouldn't mind seeing the Clinton administration replace Mr. D'Amours. Still no proof of a planned coup by Ms. Wheat has surfaced and she isn't talking.

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To handle the pending bankruptcy reform bills, House Judiciary's commercial and administrative law subcommittee has hired Susan Jensen- Conklin as a counsel. Ms. Jensen-Conklin was the general counsel at the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, which was created by Congress in 1995 to recommend changes to the bankruptcy code. It submitted its final report to lawmakers in October and then was disbanded.

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Federal Reserve Board staffer Jay H. Bryson has been hired by First Union Capital Markets Group as an international economist.

Mr. Bryson will provide analysis of overseas economic trends, foreign interest and exchange rates, and credit risks.

His presence creates "a dramatic increase in our ability to give good foreign exchange service to our international clients," said Steve Kohlhagen, head of the First Union unit's derivatives team.

Mr. Bryson spent five years as an economist in the Fed's international finance division, most recently focusing on developments in Italy.

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Deborah F. Silberman, acting general counsel at the Federal Housing Finance Board since July 1996, now has the job officially. Before joining the agency in 1994, Ms. Silberman was assistant chief counsel of the business transactions division at the Office of Thrift Supervision.

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