THE Senate banking committee's new Republican chairman, Alfonse D'Amato of New York, plans to introduce a bill that would vastly recast the financial services industry, allowing banks to own insurance companies and securities firms to own banks.
The bill, expected by the end of the month, would make it easier for banks and companies that offer financial services such as credit cards, stock brokering, and insurance, to get into each other's businesses.
It would amend the Bank Holding Company Act, which prohibits industrial firms from owning banks. D'Amato would establish a holding company structure allowing companies engaged in financial services to own banks, securities, or insurance affiliates and offer financial products through those affiliates.
The affiliates of the holding companies would be regulated by the various agencies that oversee the banking and securities industry, but the companies themselves would be regulated like any other publicly traded firm.