Sen. Byron Dorgan is not a big fan of bank megamergers.

His aversion toward big-time consolidation drove the North Dakota Democrat to propose a tax on mergers to discourage acquisitions such as First Bank System Inc.'s planned purchase of First Interstate Bancorp.

"If you go buy a shirt someplace, you're going to pay a 4% or 5% sales tax," Sen. Dorgan told the Senate last month. "Maybe if you go buy a $10 billion or $5 billion company you ought to pay a 4% fee."

A spokesman for Sen. Dorgan said that such a fee would have little chance of passing the Republican-led Congress. He added that the lawmaker simply wanted to make the point that he thinks such megamergers spell bad news for consumers.

Ronald K. Noble, Treasury under secretary for law enforcement, appears ready to announce his resignation this week.

Treasury wasn't talking, but The Washington Post said he plans to accept a teaching post at New York University School of Law next year. No word yet on when he'll leave or who will take his place.

Among his responsibilities at Treasury was to monitor bank compliance with laws aimed at preventing money laundering.

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