The chief spokesman for the nation's savings and loans chided for "unthoughtful comments" about the plight of the industry and admitted there is little chance that Congress will toughen regulation on money market funds.
Rollin D. Barnard, president of the United States League of Savings Associations, was particularly critical of recent statements by Assistant Treasury Secretary Tim McNamar, who said among other things that quicker deregulation of the financial industry is the key to receiving the nation's beleaguered savings and loan business.
Barnard said he met yesterday with high-level White House officials about the remarks, but would say only that the meeting was open and cordial. The savings and loan industry bitterly opposes hasty banking deregulation.
"We as an industry are suffering from a lack of understanding on the part of our government officials as to the weight of their words carry," Barnard said.
Barnard said he asked the officials to consider making "progressive, productive and positive comments" about the thrift industry, rathern than displaying a "who-gives-a-damn" attitude.
"The people of America have a great deal to be confident about about their business," he said. "They do not need to fear for their lives. I think things are turning around." Speaking to a meeting of the Maryland Savings and Loan League here at the Greenbriar, Barnard admitted that there is little chance that Congress will give the Federal Reserve Board regulatory power over money market funds, the increasingly popular instruments that have drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the nation's savings and loan institutions.
The industry has asked Congress to force the funds to carry reserves similar to those of the savings and loans. Congress is holding hearings on the subject, an issue the savings and loan industry has been seeking help on for the past two years.
On the other hand, Barnard said he is optimistic that congressional taxation committees will adopt a tax-code amendment that would permit the introduction of tax-exempt certificates for financial institutions.