Local banking industry officials are offering mixed reviews of the Financial Services Act of 1999, the recently enacted, groundbreaking legislation that redefines what banks can and can't do.
The differences in opinion seem to be based largely on differences in size.
Officials with larger banks view the legislation favorably, while some community banking officials have concerns about their ability to prosper under the new rules.
There is, however, widespread agreement on one point.
"It was inevitable it was going to happen." says Tom Travis, the president of the International Bank of Commerce's San Antonio operations.
Signed into law by President Clinton late last month, the Financial Services Act reverses Depression era laws that were designed to prevent banks, insurance and securities firms from merging with each other. In essence, the law sets the framework for the creation of multi-service financial institutions that offer products across a broad line of industry sectors, including insurance, securities, and banking products.
The barriers between financial firms were put in place because conflicts of interest between securities firms (or investment banks) and commercial banks were believed to be one of …