Rep. Henry Gonzalez didn't much care for the budget bill voted out by the House Banking Committee last week, and he didn't mince his words in explaining why.

A provision that would allow small banks to self-certify their compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act was a "simple, needless, and egregious abuse of the majority's power," the Texas Democrat said Tuesday.

Moreover, he said, Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach had decided to "try to cure whatever ails SAIF by killing what's left of the savings and loan industry."

Even worse were the procedures the committee was following, he said. The bill was made available for inspection Friday, amendments were due Monday, and the vote was held Tuesday morning.

"The whole shebang," Rep. Gonzalez said, "makes road kill look like genetic engineering."


If you can't kill it, rename it.

The Community Reinvestment Act certainly has opponents, but maybe it's warm-and-fuzzy name has thwarted opposition to its paperwork and reporting requirements. At least that seemed to be the thinking of Rep. Dick Chrysler, R-Mich., when he offered a last-minute amendment to House Banking's budget bill to rename CRA the "Urban Loan Program."

Not taken in by the ruse, the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-N.Y., pushed further, facetiously dubbing CRA the "Urban, Suburban, and Rural Loan Program."

Rep. Chrysler agreed and Mr. Leach, punchy after the all-day session, ordered a roll-call vote on the new name. Missing a rendezvous with history, the USRLP was defeated 27-19.


Just saving the world, thank you.

Rep. Marge Roukema's press secretary isn't one to hide the boss's candle under a basket. The headline on a press release announcing a bill introduced by the New Jersey Republican summed up the measure: "Roukema Rescues S&L Insurance Fund, Transforms Banking Industry."


The automated teller machine made history last week.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History added a vintage ATM, in use from 1977 to 1993 in a Dayton bank, to its collection last week, marking the 30th anniversary of the cash dispenser's invention.

Don Wetzel, who patented the ATM in 1973, was on hand for the ceremonies.

"Years ago, when I first came up with the idea, I traveled around with a cardboard model of an automated cash dispenser and tried to sell the concept to banks," Mr. Wetzel said. "You can imagine I got some pretty strange looks, but it is amazing how much of an impact this little machine has had on our daily lives."

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