More than 400 people attended an at-times-tearful farewell to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chairman Andrew "Skip" Hove Jr. on Thursday.

Among those at the reception, held in the agency's offices, were current and former members of the FDIC board who had served with Mr. Hove during his more than 10-year tenure.

FDIC Chairman Donna Tanoue started the ceremony with a slide-show retrospective of Mr. Hove's life. He was then praised by colleagues including Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr., Office of Thrift Supervision Director Ellen Seidman, former FDIC chairman William Seidman, and FDIC chief operating officer John Bovenzi.

Mr. Bovenzi spoke for the FDIC staff about Mr. Hove's enduring popularity in the agency.

"Coaches want players that will run through walls for them," Mr. Bovenzi said. "Skip, you have thousands of players who will run through walls for you."

Senate Republicans completed committee assignments late last week. New to the Senate Banking Committee - and the Senate itself - is Nevada freshman John Ensign, the 10th Republican on the 20-member panel. He joins three other freshmen, Sens. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Jon Corzine, D-N.J., on the panel.

The Independent Community Bankers of America's nominating committee released its slate of officer candidates.ICBA members are to vote on the nominees at the group's annual convention in Las Vegas in March.

Leading the list is Robert I. Gulledge, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Citizens Bank Inc. in Robertsdale, Ala., who was nominated for president.

A. Pierce Stone, chairman, CEO, and president of Virginia Community Bank in Louisa, is nominated for president-elect.

C.R. Cloutier, president of Midsouth National Bank in Lafayette, La., is the candidate for vice president.

The committee picked Salvatore Marranca, president and CEO of Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley, N.Y., for the secretary slot.

For treasurer, the committee nominated James E. Caspary, president of First National Bank of Clifton in Illinois.

Thomas J. Sheehan, president of the ICBA, would become chairman after the new slate is elected.

Though the rumor on the street is that President Bush is eager to replace OTS Director Ellen Seidman, she said she doubts that anyone would be eager to go through Senate confirmation just to serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in October 2002."Offering somebody the opportunity to go through the entire confirmation process for a term of under two years is like offering" that person "three weeks in Philadelphia," she joked after making a speech before the Exchequer Club on Jan. 17.

Ms. Seidman said she has a bipartisan background, having worked in the Treasury Department for seven years during the Reagan administration. "It is not a very unusual position for me to be in," she said.

Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill enjoyed a smooth confirmation hearing this month, but the former head of the aluminum giant Alcoa and personal friend of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan made it clear to the Senate Finance Committee that he comes to Washington with no illusions about the extent of his power.Asked by one lawmaker about the use of interest rate reductions to spark a slowing economy, he said, "Interest rates and monetary policy are Alan's province, and I dare not tread there."

As expected, the Senate last week confirmed Mel Martinez, the former chairman of Orange County, Fla., as secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department. In a 100-to-0 vote, the senators approved Mr. Martinez to succeed Andrew Cuomo.

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