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Archive for Tuesday, June 15, 1999

MOORE: BANK REFORMMUST

June 15, 1999

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A framework is needed to guide the financial industry as traditional barriers are broken down, the Kansas congressman said in one of two speeches Monday in Lawrence.

The future of the nation's financial industry could be at risk unless the current system is reformed, Rep. Dennis Moore told Kansas bankers Monday.

Speaking in Lawrence at the 60th annual bank management clinic sponsored by the Kansas Bankers Assn., Moore told bankers about the progress of legislation that could affect their industry.

"If we don't establish a framework, we endanger the system and the consumer," said Moore, a Democrat who serves on the House Banking and Financial Services Committee.

Bills drafted in both houses of Congress contain variations of such a framework, but until lawmakers' differences are resolved, it will not become law. And such legislative guidance is needed as traditional barriers between segments of the industry fall, he said.

Congress also is set to reform bankruptcy laws to require more personal responsibility and examine the issue of financial privacy.

Law enforcement agencies want more access to financial records to track money laundering and other crimes, but consumer groups have balked at the notion, saying it violates individual rights.

Jim Maag, executive vice president of the Kansas Bankers Assn., said the two-day conference here deals with some of the larger issues facing banking, such as reform legislation, the economy and Y2K computer problems. The meeting continues today.

Also Monday in Lawrence, Moore said that Medicare cuts in the name of a balanced budget have created a national health care crisis.

After a year of congressional hearings on Medicare, several new reform plans were introduced, but the majority can't agree what measures to adopt, Moore told Rotary Club members at the Eldridge Hotel.

"The biggest obstacle is the cost," he said. "We're looking at billions of dollars."

-- Josh Funk's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail is jfunk@ljworld.com.

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