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PIA Lauds Rep. Kelly's Call for OCC to Justify Its Preemption Rules

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National) today lauded Rep. Sue Kelly (R-New York) for demanding that the...
January 23, 2004

Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Calls January 28 Hearing

WASHINGTON, January 23, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National) today lauded Rep. Sue Kelly (R-New York) for demanding that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) "publicly justify" rules that give only the OCC, and not the states, the right to examine and take enforcement action against national banks and their operating subsidiaries.

Rep. Kelly, chairwoman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said her subcommittee will conduct a public hearing on the matter January 28. "The OCC is tasked with interpreting Congressional intent, and it will now have to justify its decision to Congress," Kelly said.

"We applaud Vice Chairwoman Kelly's action to investigate the manner in which the OCC finalized these rules," said PIA Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs Peter Bizzozero.

PIA previously criticized the new OCC rules, while noting that they appear to apply to just one of the three sectors of the financial services industry as delineated in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. PIA Senior Vice President Patricia A. Borowski said it does not appear the OCC intends to take on insurance and securities regulators, as well as banking regulators. "So banking entities that had recently called for federal-optional charter oversight for insurance should take heed not to over-play their hand through these rules changes," she said.

Shortly after the proposed rule was issued last summer, fifty state banking departments sent comment letters to the OCC and 50 state attorneys general signed on to a separate letter. Most all of the comment letters were also forwarded to members of Congress, asking that the OCC proposal be withdrawn pending congressional review.  OCC finalized the rule despite these letters, and without incorporating any of the recommended changes.

The OCC rules would go into effect February 12.

Rep. Kelly will deliver the keynote address March 25 during the annual federal legislative summit held by PIA National.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specializein coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.