Former American Association of Retired Persons lobbyist Kent Brunette has joined the enemy.

Mr. Brunette, a longtime foe of banks, has become what he calls a "part- time consumer sounding board" for NationsBank.

Though he doesn't have an official title yet, the onetime consumer lobbyist insists he isn't a turncoat. "I haven't sold out - I'm just a consumer advocate in a different role," he says.

He also produces a nationally syndicated radio show on how new technologies affect the consumer and is working on a consumer guide to mortgages.

*

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan was extremely complimentary of Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig's role in setting up last week's electronic money conference, but he had his reasons.

Mr. Greenspan had his golf game in mind when he buttered up the comptroller during a dinner address Thursday. The two regulators are occasional partners on the links.

"I very strongly commend you, and hope that as a consequence you give me the next three-foot putt," Mr. Greenspan said.

*

It didn't take long for Alice Rivlin, the Federal Reserve Board's new vice chairman, to get used to her job.

In remarks to the Institute of International Bankers last week, she said she's mastering "Fed speak," which is the ability to discuss the economy without really saying anything.

"I've learned not to say anything in the week before the Federal Open Market Committee meeting," she said. "I have a good tutor in Alan Greenspan, and I'm trying to be a good student."

*

The Senate Ethics Committee last week cleared Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato of allegations that he made improper investments in an initial public offering through broker-dealer Stratton Oakmont Inc.

In a statement released Friday, the Senate Banking Committee chairman seemed less than jubilant.

"Unfortunately, even false accusations have a way of causing great personal pain," the New York Republican said. "This is not the first time I have been unfairly attacked in this manner for nothing but political reasons."

*

Bankers are toiling to build their mutual fund and brokerage businesses, but House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt apparently isn't a customer.

The Missouri Democrat, speaking to a conference on financial derivatives Friday, said Congress may soon allow Social Security funds to be invested in the capital markets - either by trustees or by individuals themselves. When that happens, Rep. Gephardt suggested banks will be left out.

"Even elderly people are talking about the Fidelity funds and not going down to the corner bank at 3%," he said.

*

Darcy Bradbury, the assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets, is returning to Wall Street. The former investment banker, who advised the department on debt issues and the privatization of Sallie Mae, will leave next month. Officials did not identify her new employer.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.