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PRIME RIB STEAK LOBSTER CRAB elican’s had Austin, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Brownsville, Temple, McAllen, Port Aransas, Tucson DER LINu s College Station, San Antonio, Lake Tahoe AMERIC $q EXPRESS Legislators missed several opportunities to bolster state review powers over the operations of the big moneyhouses. Rep. Frank Hartung \(Rbers to serve on the state banking board with the state banking commissioner and the state treasurer, who occupy ex officio seats. Hartung hoped that additional lay members would bring “more public input” to board proceedings and weaken treasurer Jesse James’ role in the awarding of state bank charters. The Hartung provision did not pass, and only newly appointed citizen member Sam E. Carter, a Temple-area rancher, represents the public on the banking board. Hartung, who plans to run for state treasurer, introduced another measure which would have cut the number of noninterest-bearing checking accounts the state maintains. His bill would have required banks to bid competitively for state deposits larger than $100,000. Hartung says Texas lost some $91 million from 1971 to 1975 by placing revenues in demand rather than savings accounts. The present system, he says, amounts to favoritism for big banks, who hold most of the state’s assets. The Hartung bill died without benefit of a hearing in Sen. Tom Creighton’s hostile economic development committee. Although they didn’t testify against the proposal, the leadership of the Texas Bankers Associ ation and Jesse James himself are blamed for the bill’s demise. The Legislature did pass a few consolation items that probably won’t do much to shape the future. One is a new “comment” rule that requires the state banking commissioner to decide if the acquisition of a state bank by a holding company is detrimental to the public interest. If the commissioner’s finding is negative, the Federal Reserve’s board of gov ernors is obliged to reject the takeover application. The only problem with this bill is that Texas’ current banking commissioner, Robert Stewart, is no one’s idea of an agressive regulator; he’s been notoriously soft on banks, big and small. Observers expect little, if any, curtailment of holding company growth. The conglomerate institutions weren’t particularly worried: they dropped their original opposition to the proposal when the word went out that there would be no attempt this session at numerical limitation on holding company acquisitions or assets. The state’s independent bankers supported the comment law, evidently feeling it was the best deal they could get from the Legislature in 1977. Two years ago, the small banks pushed for a measure to limit the assets of all holding companies to 8 percent of the total of statewide deposits and 25 member banks per conglomerate. The independent institutions, then as now, had little influence; the holding company lobby crushed their bill in committee. Small banks have their own lobby, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, but with a dispersed membership of 450 fiercely independent bankers, and with little agreement on how to cope with the growing power of bankholding companies, the group cannot put up much of a fight against the huge Texas Bankers Association \(numbering 1,330 tightly unified holding company lobby, the Texas Association of Bank Holding Companies. IBAT wins only the rounds that TBA doesn’t care about and that pose no threat to the state’s holding companies. HB 991’s new “rent-a-bank” controls, which require the state banking commissioner to approve transfers of 25 percent or more of a bank’s stock before final sale, will mainly affect independent banks and do little to change the balance The Legislature reduced the chances independent bankers may have had of making a go of it against the sprawling outfits that are taking charge of Texas banking. TEXAS WILD The Land, Plants, and Animals of the Lone Star State by Richard Phelan, photographs by Jim Bones Texas Wild, a book as beautiful and extraordinary as Texas itself, explores region by region the land, the plants and the animals of the Lone Star State. From mountain desert to swampy woodland, from rolling prairie to the semi-tropics, Phelan and Bones celebrate in words and pictures a land of unique and dramatic diversity. Highlighting the geography and the natural history are fascinating tales from the state’s colorful past. “Intelligent, readable, informed, informative … covers a tremendous lot of material with a grasp that indicates solid knowledge and research … such an overall and unchauvinistic treatment of physical and natural Texas has long been needed.” John Graves “A splendid tour … this is excellent armchair travel.” Publishers Weekly 64 pages of full-color photographs, 100 drawings, 8 maps, 83/4″ x 103/4″, oversize format. GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe Austin, Texas 78705 Please send Texas Wild at $25.00 per copy, \($30.00 per remittance enclosed charge my account Nam\(‘ Addres City State Zip Please add appropriate salex tax & 7 5 i/ postage per copy. July 29, 1977 29