WASHINGTON — An effort to pass a bill cracking down on anonymous shell companies, which is now in its home stretch in Congress, has essentially become a proxy fight between the banking and small-business lobbies.
The bill already passed the House, but underwhelming GOP support leaves its Senate chances in question. Republicans are split on whether the bill gives banks needed regulatory relief or is overly burdensome to small businesses.
“When you’re in the full House or full Senate, you’re fine to provide regulatory relief when it is confined to the banking industry itself,” said Ed Mills, a policy analyst at Raymond James. “If it’s at the expense of the larger business community, that’s where you see members have pause.”
Yet backers of the legislation, which requires businesses to identify their true owners starting at incorporation, are hopeful that …