Ricki Helfer does not want a state banking regulator added to her five- member board at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"We do not support a six-member board for the FDIC, where half of the board members would have primary responsibilities that do not involve the FDIC," the agency's chairman testified before Congress last week.

Commenting on pending legislation, Ms. Helfer said someone holding a full-time state job does not have enough time left over to be an effective member of the FDIC board.

"The FDIC is too important an agency, and its responsibilities too significant, for half of its board members to be so distracted," Ms. Helfer told the Senate Banking financial institutions subcommittee.

Ironically, that's exactly the FDIC's situation right now as two of its four members head other agencies. Eugene A. Ludwig runs the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, while Jonathan Fiechter is acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision. (The FDIC's fifth seat is vacant.)

But lest Mr. Ludwig and Mr. Fiechter take her comments the wrong way, Ms. Helfer added: "This statement is not meant in any way to derogate from the strong sense of commitment that the comptroller of the currency and the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision bring to their service on the FDIC board."

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Community group representatives found themselves in strange company during a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing last week.

Catherine P. Bessant, senior vice president of NationsBank Corp., was seated on a panel with the likes of Michelle Meier, counsel at Consumers Union, and Allen Fishbein, general counsel at the Center for Community Change.

Those who organized the seating chart probably placed Ms. Bessant on that panel because her testimony was a little different from that of the bankers testifying on the prior panel. Ms. Bessant warned Senate lawmakers not to enact provisions in their regulatory relief bill that would tinker with the newly revised CRA rules.

Ms. Bessant's panel-mates didn't seem too bothered by her presence.

"If she doesn't mind slumming, I don't," Mr. Fishbein said.

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