Within days of the election defeat of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, the panel's prospective new leader, Sen. Phil Gramm, began a staff overhaul.
His spokesman said Wayne A. Abernathy, banking aide to Sen. Gramm since 1987, will become chief of staff in January. John M. Heasley, general counsel of the Texas Bankers Association and a former House Banking Committee staff member, is being courted to be top committee lawyer, sources here said.
Sen. Gramm also discussed financial and Social Security reforms with Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin for 90 minutes Thursday. He plans a similar powwow shortly with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.
The credit union lobby welcomed Sen. Gramm's expected ascent because he adamantly opposes taxing these nonprofit institutions. "We are very encouraged for the future of the credit union tax exemption," said Bill Donovan, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
Rep. Richard H. Baker, R-La., survived a close election race. The Republican chairman of the House Banking Committee's capital markets subcommittee eked out a 2,900-vote victory over challenger Marjorie McKeithen. "I didn't know it would be that close," a Baker aide said. "It was scary."
Less fortunate were three junior Republican members of the committee: Rep. Jon D. Fox of Pennsylvania, Bill Redmond of New Mexico, and Vincent K. Snowbarger of Kansas.
Four of seven Senate Banking Committee incumbents who were up for re- election will return. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., defeated state Treasurer Matt Fong with 53.1% of the vote. Sens. Robert F. Bennett, R- Utah, Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., and Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., cruised to victory.
Charles E. Long, vice chairman and corporate secretary of Citicorp before its Oct. 8 merger with Travelers Group, quietly announced his retirement last month.
The 58-year-old Mr. Long had led the New York banking company's lobbying shop in Washington since 1982. Citigroup lobbyists will now report to co- general counsel and corporate secretary Charles O. Prince. News of Mr. Long's departure emerged when Citigroup laid off 40% of its Washington office staff last week.
The American Bankers Association has promoted economist Mike ter Maat to director of membership. Mr. ter Maat, a six-year ABA veteran, succeeds Richard Foss, who left last month to run the National Association of Surety Bond Producers.