When the Financial Accounting Standards Board voted in April to tentatively eliminate pooling-of-interests accounting, the future of bank mergers looked bleak.

But at least two Senate Banking Committee members-Charles E. Schumer, D- N.Y., and Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala.-are not ready to give up.

In a letter last week to Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., chairman of Senate Banking's securities subcommittee, the two lawmakers requested a hearing on the issue. Requiring banks and other firms to use purchase accounting, they wrote, could increase the cost of mergers, dampen growth, and threaten banks' international competitiveness.

"FASB has not demonstrated the necessity for such proposed rule changes," they wrote July 14.

Bruce Marks, executive director of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, last week challenged Sen. Phil Gramm to a public debate on community reinvestment issues.

He is still upset that in May the Senate Banking Committee chairman accused him of "harassing" banks into making donations to the nonprofit mortgage lending group.

"Let's debate the issues anytime, anyplace, any forum," Mr. Marks said. Neighborhood Assistance announced it will begin an anti-Gramm radio advertising campaign today in Texas and Washington.

"It is hard to take Marks' confrontational tactics seriously," a Senate Banking spokeswoman responded.

Former thrift industry lobbyist Sally LaHue Owen died July 11. She was 51. Ms. LaHue Owen worked on Capitol Hill for more than a decade and lobbied 12 years for America's Community Bankers.

House Banking Committee Democrats have rehired Jaime E. Lizarraga as a senior professional staff member. He starts today and will help fill the void left by former deputy staff director Richard Maurano, who recently joined Fannie Mae. Mr. Lizarraga served on House Banking from 1996 to 1998 and as an aide to former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt.

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.