President Clinton this week is expected to swear in Ellen S. Seidman as director of the Office of Thrift Supervision.

The Senate approved Ms. Seidman's nomination late Thursday.

"I'm really pleased at the Senate's action, and I'm looking forward to starting work at the OTS," Ms. Seidman, President Clinton's special assistant for economic policy, said Friday.

The news spells relief for Nicolas P. Retsinas, who has been interim OTS director for the past year. Giving up his post as chief thrift regulator still leaves him with plenty to do-Mr. Retsinas also is the Department of Housing and Urban Development's assistant secretary for housing and a director on the Federal Housing Finance Board.

"It's been a challenge-what was to be a 60- to 90-day appointment became 54 weeks today," Mr. Retsinas said Friday. "But as difficult as this has been from a scheduling point of view, it has been invigorating from an issue point of view."

Mr. Retsinas praised Ms. Seidman as a "true professional" who will "add substantial value not only to OTS, but to the broader discussion of financial modernization."

Also last week, the Senate confirmed Laura S. Unger and Paul R. Carey to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

John D. Hawke Jr., Treasury under secretary for domestic finance, savored a rare chance last week to trade places with Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato.

The Senate Banking Committee chairman was the lead witness at a hearing in New York on Treasury's proposal for delivering most federal payments electronically by 1999.

"This is an unusual turning of the tables today for me to be presiding," Mr. Hawke said, no doubt recalling the grilling Sen. D'Amato gave him in May on the same topic.

"You can ask me the questions," Sen. D'Amato said, eliciting chuckles from the crowd.

After getting a taste of Hollywood, Sen. D'Amato appears to be on the lookout for new acting talent.

Last week the New York Republican, who has a bit part in Al Pacino's latest flick "Devil's Advocate," said he saw big-screen potential in Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.

Before a vote on mortgage insurance legislation, the banking panel's ranking Democrat hushed the committee with what appeared to be a dramatic opening statement.

"There's a matter of serious import that I feel compelled to bring to the committee," Sen. Sarbanes said as Sen. D'Amato looked on quizzically.

"I don't want to trespass too far into the vote, but since we're all assembled I don't want to pass by the opportunity to bring to the attention of my colleagues ... today is Steve Harris' 50th birthday."

After applause for the Banking Committee's Democratic staff director subsided, Sen. D'Amato expressed relief.

"Thank God!" he said and encouraged Sen. Sarbanes to audition "the next time a cameo appearance by a senator is needed in one of Pacino's movies."

Glen Milesko, chairman of Banc One Insurance Group, was elected president of the Association of Banks-in-Insurance last week. Mr. Milesko said passage of financial reform legislation would be his top priority.

Other officers elected were vice president Dean Purvis, senior vice president with NationsBank Insurance Group; treasurer David Holton, president of Wachovia Insurance Services; and secretary Andy Tasker, managing director of FMI Consulting Inc.

If bankers want to improve their Home Mortgage Disclosure Act performance, they must have "zero tolerance for discrimination," Eugene A. Ludwig said at the New York Neighborhood Housing Services annual dinner last week.

The black-tie gala, featuring the Comptroller of the Currency, netted more than $700,000 for the housing association, which rehabilitates inner- city neighborhoods.

Scores of industry leaders were among the 900 attendees, including H. Jay Sarles, Fleet Financial Group's vice chairman, Malcolm Burnett, Marine Midland's chief operating officer, and Federal Reserve Bank of New York president William McDonough.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors has hired Montrice D. Godard, a former Delaware banking regulator, as senior vice president for regulation starting Nov. 15.

Ms. Godard will succeed Robert A. Richard, who retired Sept. 30 after more than 20 years with the group.

While serving as Delaware's deputy bank commissioner for intergovernmental affairs from 1995 to 1997, Ms. Godard helped formulate agreements among states and between states and federal government for supervision of interstate branches.

She became principal deputy to Delaware Secretary of State Ed Freel in March; her duties included serving as a liaison to bankers.

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