Senate backs interstate bankingThe Senate passed a bill...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 27, 1994

Senate backs interstate banking

The Senate passed a bill yesterday to tear down decades-old barriers that limit banks from running branches across state lines, bringing coast-to-coast banking closer to reality after failed efforts dating to the mid-1980s.

The House last month approved a similar measure, which would permit consumers to deposit checks and obtain loans wherever their hometown bank has a branch.

Within a year of enactment, bank holding companies would be permitted to establish a bank in any state. Starting in June 1997, holding companies would be able to convert their individual state banks into branch offices of a single large bank, enabling the nation's biggest banks to save millions of dollars a year.

Cellular phones on Metrorail

Bell Atlantic Mobile announced yesterday that it has extended its cellular service to parts of Washington's Metrorail service, joining Hong Kong as the only city in which subway riders can place and receive cellular calls from underground stations.

In its initial rollout, Bell Atlantic will provide service to six stations on Metro's Orange Line and Blue Line. By April 1995, the company will extend coverage to 17 more underground stations on the Yellow, Red and Blue lines. Deployment of microcells to additional stations on the Red and Green lines will continue through 1995.

Heineken brewers on strike

Heineken, the world's second-largest brewer, sought urgent deliveries yesterday from its breweries across Europe as strikes at its main Dutch plants stripped bars and supermarkets of its beer.

Heineken said it was tapping its non-Dutch breweries to ward off the threat of beer shortages on the Queen's Day holiday next weekend, when the Netherlands traditionally holds nationwide festivities and sends beer consumption sky high.

The strike began five days ago at its plants in Zoeterwoude and Den Bosch. It left only the company's Maastricht brewery to cope with Dutch demand, where it supplies half the market.

Columbia firm sues Wackenhut

Essex Corp. sued a Wackenhut Corp. subsidiary yesterday, alleging the company interfered with bidding on a government contract.

The suit, filed in federal court in Baltimore, seeks compensatory damages of $25 million and punitive damages of $75 million from Wackenhut Services Inc.

In April 1991, Columbia-based Essex bid to renew its contract to operate the Department of Energy's Transportation Safeguards Training Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Wackenhut was awarded the contract, although Essex challenged the decision before the General Accounting Office.

The GAO ordered new bids and disqualified Wackenhut from the process. Essex won the new round of bidding and in October 1993 resumed work under a five-year, $16.3 million contract.

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