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News Now

Washington
House Financial Services set 08 priorities
WASHINGTON (1/25/08)—Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) of the House Financial Services Committee unveiled his panel’s 2008 agenda Thursday, although he warned that the issues noted comprise a partial list. Frank opened his press conference by reiterating his view that the country’s current financial crisis was spurred by irresponsible lending and securitization, but noted that some securitization activities are beneficial to the economy. He added that deregulation will be a subject before his committee this year, but that the current problems in the housing market drive home his position that some regulation is necessary to avoid abuses. He said his committee will look at the history of Suspicious Activity Report filing to study whether the number of filed reports are overwhelming law enforcement officials and hampering law enforcement efforts. The chairman also said that housing issues, such as the lack of subsidized public housing and affordable rental housing, will come before his committee this year. He added that a proposed Housing Trust Fund contained in the House-passed FHA bill is still on his radar. Credit card practices will have the panel’s attention in 2008, Frank said. He did not support setting card rates, but did favor regulating practices such as universal default. Other issues on the front burner include the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data that has indicated racial disparities in lending. The topics raised by Frank also included data security, and he said he continues to believe that those who are responsible for the data breach should pay for the costs. John Hildreth, senior legislative representative of the Credit Union National Association, said after the briefing that Frank made it clear that he was addressing only some of the issues that will come before the committee and that there were many others on the horizon.


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