As the House began debating a bill on July 1 to modernize the financial services industry, it appeared that Congress, weary of 20 years of failure, was moving to allow banks, securities firms and insurance companies to merge with one another.

The Senate approved similar legislation on May 6. Assuming that, as expected, the House does the same by July 2, it will be the first time that both chambers voted to break down the walls of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. The next and most difficult step involves negotiating differences between the bills and emerging with one bill for the president’s signature.

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