Asked in a recent interview if he enjoys running the House Banking Committee, chairman Jim Leach laughed.

"This has been a frantic couple of years," he said. "Partly because we've dealt with some personal kind of issues involved in Whitewater that were imperfect. Partly because with any transition there is always a little bit of sand in the gears.

"Works of any institution, particularly public institutions, can be grating," Rep. Leach said. "But I rather like the people on my side of the aisle and I have great fondness for some of my critics on the other side of the aisle."

The Iowa Re-publican also said there are a "number of very able, younger and older members, on both sides."

Of the committee's Democrats, Rep. Leach singled out Ken Bentsen of Texas as "a very able guy." He said Barney Frank of Massachusetts is "quite thoughtful" while Bruce Vento of Minnesota is "very hardworking."

As for the Republicans, Rep. Leach described Richard Baker of Louisiana as a "real comer in Republican politics" and praised Sue Kelly and Rick Lazio, both from New York, as rising stars. He said Marge Roukema, chairman of House Banking's financial institutions subcommittee, "has a very interesting role to play in the House. She's an able woman who is less partisan than most."

Ira C. Magaziner plans a much lighter treatment for bankers than the one he prescribed for doctors a few years ago.

An architect of the Clinton administration's failed health care reform effort, he now heads a White House task force responsible for developing a global electronic commerce policy. Its report is expected within three to four weeks.

Speaking at a Media Institute luncheon last week, Mr. Magaziner said the private sector should lead the development of electronic commerce and payment systems. "Our view as a government is that we should monitor and watch these developments but we should not interfere," he said.

Acknowledging that industry leaders have criticized the administration's export ban on encryption technology, Mr. Magaziner said there are "legitimate concerns" on both sides of the issue.

The administration's encryption policy is "evolving all the time," he noted.

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.