The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked the Treasury Department's inspector general to investigate an anonymous letter sent to national bank directors this spring.

Titled "A Message From Protestant & Catholic OCC Examiners," the letter decried the agency's financial support of GLOBE, an employee support group for gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees. The letter asked directors to object by calling or writing Comptroller John D. Hawke Jr.

"If OCC management can force OCC/GLOBE upon its employees, when will they impose their social agenda upon your bank?" the letter asked directors.

Agency officials said 54 bankers have written to Mr. Hawke. To ease concerns, Ed Hanley, senior deputy comptroller for administration, told national banks in a March 30 letter: "The anonymous letter was not an official OCC mailing, and no action on your part is necessary."

Mr. Hanley confirmed that the Comptroller's Office supports GLOBE and other affinity groups formed to address workplace issues. But that support does not constitute an endorsement of any such groups, he said.

The OCC spokesman said the cost of supporting GLOBE amounts to less than $1,000 a year.

Fleet Financial Group's longtime legislative strategist, Paul S. Quinn, is leaving the Washington law firm he co-founded in 1983, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer & Quinn.

Mr. Quinn and his colleague, William H. Boger, today will join Boston- based Bingham Dana as partners.

No offense to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, but some key Democrats are actually nostalgic for former Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato.

Sen. Schumer unseated the Republican incumbent last fall in a high- profile campaign in New York, but some from the other side of the aisle sorely miss the populist streak exhibited by the former Banking Committee chairman.

Word is that clashes with new chairman Phil Gramm have driven Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, the panel's ranking Democrat, to pine for the more accommodating Sen. D'Amato.

And in a recent interview, Rep. John J. LaFalce, the House Banking Committee's ranking Democrat, expressed regret that he and Sen. D'Amato never got to lead their committees at the same time.

"Both of us are very pragmatic individuals," said Rep. LaFalce, who also comes from New York. "We would have worked well together. I think we would have seen tremendous production of progressive legislation. Certain individuals, and chairmen of committees, might be more philosophically doctrinaire and just dig in their heels-without naming names."

During a hearing on financial reform last week, Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., grilled Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan on the need for tougher privacy protections.

"I am conflicted on this question," Mr. Greenspan replied.

In the new economy, he said, companies will rely increasingly on information technology to deliver better goods and services and should not be overly restricted.

"As a libertarian, I am very much sensitive to the issue of privacy," Mr. Greenspan added. "One of the things that is so important about this government and this country is that we protect the individual's rights."

"I can support wholeheartedly your libertarian side," Rep. Markey said, prompting laughter in the hearing room.

House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has to get financial reform legislation enacted to save on his grocery bill, if nothing else.

During the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank here last week, Rep. Leach invited Sir Howard Davies to his home for leg of lamb.

As chairman of Great Britain's new Financial Services Commission, Mr. Davies oversees all types of financial services companies. To include all of Mr. Davies' U.S. counterparts, Rep. Leach had to invite a whole slew of regulators.

On the guest list: Mr. Greenspan; Mr. Hawke; Ellen Seidman, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision; Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Donna A. Tanoue; and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Brooksley A. Born.

Apparently, Rep. Leach didn't have room for Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. and all 50 state insurance commissioners.

No surprise, but Rep. Bill McCollum was scheduled to formally announce Sunday that he plans to run for the Senate in 2000.

The Florida Republican and House Banking Committee member is pursuing the seat being vacated by fellow Republican Connie Mack, who is retiring after two terms.

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