Bank of Hawaii chairman Lawrence M. Johnson isn't exactly in President Clinton's inner circle, but he is becoming a regular golf buddy.
During the President's recent visit to Honolulu, Mr. Johnson joined him for a round on the links. It was their third golf outing together since President Clinton took office in 1992.
But Mr. Johnson did not press the industry's case for repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act or any other initiative.
"When the President is playing golf, he uses it as an opportunity to relax and clear his head," Mr. Johnson said. "He doesn't want to talk about politics, world events, or most certainly banking legislation."
Mr. Johnson credited his close ties to Hawaii Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano for the golf invites.
"They've been friends for years, since the President was governor of Arkansas," Mr. Johnson said. "I've been fortunate to be included the last few times they've played."
Also playing the round were former Hawaii Gov. John D. Waihee III and Adm. Joseph W. Prueher of the Pacific U.S. Command.
Crosstown rival First Hawaiian Bank chairman Walter A. Dods Jr. was not invited, which is a bit surprising considering he's president of the American Bankers Association and a major Democratic supporter. His office said Mr. Dods was out of town during the President's visit.
Mr. Johnson said President Clinton's game has steadily improved over the last three years. "When he connects with his great Big Bertha driver, he can put the ball out in excess of 300 yards. He can really tag it."
Ousted National Credit Union Administration Director Robert Swan on Friday lost his legal battle to be reinstated.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the White House had the authority to remove Mr. Swan after his term ended in August. The court also ruled that the appointment of Mr. Swan's replacement, banking lawyer Yolanda T. Wheat, was legal.
Mr. Swan sued President Clinton in April, claiming that the administration has no authority to remove board members of independent agencies.
Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig went to Capitol Hill last week to soft-pedal his agency's plans to let banks enter new businesses through subsidiaries.
He only made it to the House side, however, as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato didn't return his calls. House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach not only agreed to meet, but has held his oft- sharp tongue, saying he plans to keep an open mind on the new rule. Sen. D'Amato, on the other hand, blasted the OCC's decision.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros is calling it quits. Political and industry leaders praised his tenure, which included an increased focus on fair-lending and homeownership.
"Thanks to his leadership ... more low- and moderate-income families than ever before are able to achieve the American dream of homeownership," said Angelo R. Mozilo, chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide Home Loans Inc.
Mr. Cisneros plans to remain on the job until President Clinton is inaugurated.