Sanford I. Weill, chairman and chief executive of Travelers Group, has the Capitol Hill lobbying shtick down cold.

Between visits with senators on Thursday to press for financial reform legislation, Mr. Weill struck a familiar Washington pose outside the Russell Senate office building: shouting into a cell phone to his New York office while greeting a passerby with his free hand.

Mr. Weill, who is pushing for legislation that would smooth the proposed merger with Citicorp, said he was making the rounds, but declined to give further details.

The prospects for Senate passage of the bill, which the House approved 214 to 213 last month, are "looking better," he said before dashing back into the building. "It should happen."

A Senate staff member who attended Mr. Weill's 30-minute meeting with one Banking Committee member said the financial executive took an amiable approach. He argued that the bill was ripe for passage given the House's historic vote and strong support from all financial sectors but banking. Mr. Weill, the staff member said, insisted committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato wants a bill and urged the senator to support the New York Republican at committee hearings on the bill Wednesday and Thursday.

Insurance, securities, and bank executives are expected to flood Capitol Hill early this week to lobby for the bill in advance of the hearings.

Plans to hold the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas' Aug. 17 board meeting in Seattle sparked a rumor that the institution was negotiating a merger with the Home Loan bank based there.

But Dallas president George M. Barclay said the gossip was unfounded.

"We discussed the idea on a very preliminary basis approximately a year ago and came to the conclusion that our members would both be better off if they remained independent," he said in an interview last week. Merger talks between the Home Loan banks are nothing new, said Mr. Barclay, who noted that his institution has held similar talks with the banks in Topeka and San Francisco in recent years.

Because their membership base-thrifts and commercial banks-is consolidating, mergers among the Home Loan banks are inevitable too, he said. "What has stopped us so far, though, is the need to deliver services on a personal basis. Making advances by a '1-800' number wouldn't be appropriate."

So what's behind the trip to Seattle? The Dallas bank's board wanted to hold its annual retreat in the Whistler/Blackcomb Mountains near Vancouver, British Columbia. But because they must meet in the United States, Mr. Barclay and his directors will return to Washington for the board meeting.

Darina C. McKelvie has been named director of external affairs for the Office of Thrift Supervision, filling the post vacant since John L. von Seggern left to become executive director of the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks in December.

Ms. McKelvie was a Citibank lobbyist for the last four years. Before joining Citibank, she spent three years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and served on the staffs of the Senate Banking and House Commerce committees.

Chairman Donna Tanoue's name appeared on the front page of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s quarterly banking report last week, but she skipped the press conference. Instead, agency researchers and statisticians presented the report's findings. Ms. Tanoue was sworn in three weeks ago but has yet to make an official public appearance.

Back in December 1994, former chairman Ricki Helfer-given the same choice-opted to present the findings of the agency's first quarterly banking report produced during her tenure. But Ms. Helfer by then had been chairman for two months.

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