Administration unfairly portrays industrial banks

(Regarding article, “Manufacturing giants aim to protect industrial banks,” April 13.) I am an attorney and represent a number of the industrial banks described in your article. I am also legal counsel to two trade associations representing industrial banks. Previously I was the Commissioner of Financial Institutions in Utah and in that role was responsible for chartering and regulating industrial banks and working with the federal regulators responsible for those banks.

Your story describes the differences between provisions in House and Senate versions of banking reform legislation that deal with the industrial bank charter. The article reported “the administration argued [industrial loan companies, or ILCs] had access to a federal safety net in the form of federal deposit insurance without having to comply with the regulations a regular bank faced.”

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Although the administration did make that statement, it does not accurately or fairly characterize how these banks are regulated.

Industrial banks are regulated in the same way and under the same standards and requirements as any other state-chartered, FDIC-insured bank.

They must comply with all of the regulations a regular bank faces and additional requirements besides. The biggest difference is that industrial banks often have diversified parent companies that can provide private capital to help these banks weather an economic downturn.

The parent companies of industrial banks are also regulated by the bank’s state and federal regulators. These regulators can and do examine the holding company and affiliates and if needed issue supervisory orders including cease and desist orders; assess civil money penalties; and remove officers and directors. In practice, this is comparable to oversight authority of any other holding company regulator.

From George Sutton, Salt Lake City

Perplexed by defense of letter’s wording

(Regarding article, “Berman takes on Turkish Caucus,” April 19.) I applaud Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-Calif.) stance against the Turkish Caucus’s Dear Colleague letter to the Speaker regarding what it calls the “so-called Armenian Genocide resolution.”

I found it perplexing that the spokeswoman for one of the letter’s writers, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has the notion that Rep. Berman somehow misread the meaning of the letter’s use of the term “so-called.” According to her, “so-called” is meant in the letter to modify “resolution” and not “genocide.” I find it no coincidence that the term “so-called Armenian Genocide” is a phrase coined and constantly used by the Turkish lobby to describe and cast doubts on the event. The Whitfield office’s explanation that the letter meant it is a “so-called resolution,” not a “so-called genocide,” is more than a little odd, as there is no doubt whether or not H. Res. 252 is a resolution.

Unfortunately, by parroting the words of the Turkish lobby, Rep. Whitfield and his colleagues flat out deny the Armenian Genocide in their letter. If Reps. Whitfield, Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) indeed do recognize the genocide and were merely casting doubt on the existence of this “so-called resolution,” they should each take the opportunity of the April 24 anniversary to state that fact, and be more careful in the future when using the Turkish lobby’s terminology to describe the Armenian Genocide.

From Paul Sookiasian, Pennsylvania chairman, Armenian-American Action Committee (arm of Armenian Assembly of America), West Chester, Pa.