WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill may consider a consolidation of the financial institutions regulators as a way to streamline the department, according to a report in the American Banker. NCUA was not one of the agencies mentioned in the article based on anonymous sources. One of the plans O’Neill was reported to be contemplating in discussions with Comptroller John D. Hawke, Jr. is combining the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency into one “super-regulator.” The Federal Reserve Board would be placed in charge of the 20 largest banking institutions. At the same time, Hawke raised the idea of an overhead transfer from the FDIC to cover the cost of supervising national and state-chartered banks. No specific details were laid out in the discussion, the American Banker article said, and, while Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Rob Nichols did not dispute the topic of O’Neill’s comments, he denied the agency was considering the mega-merger.

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