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Inside Washington (01/03/2008)
* WASHINGTON (1/4/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) issued its analysis of the final rule on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Asset-Size Exemption Threshold. The Federal Reserve Board has increased the asset size to $37 million from $36 million. According to the rule, financial institutions with assets of $37 million or less as of Dec. 31, 2007, will be exempt from data collection requirements. CUNA member credit unions may access the analysis … * WASHINGTON (1/4/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is moving to eliminate the bank examiners’ Merit Program after an examiner survey indicated the program is not working. About 54% of survey respondents said they were not satisfied with the way examiner issues were handled and about half stated that the program negatively impacted their job satisfaction. The survey also indicated that the program doesn’t give agency employees enough time to conduct “proper” reviews of financial institutions. The banking industry’s reaction to Merit’s removal likely will be mixed, according to Nicholas Ketcha Jr., former FDIC director of supervision. Merit applies to reviews of financial institutions with assets of $1 billion or less (American Banker Jan. 3). The program was designed to help examiners spend less time reviewing individual loan transactions with Camel ratings of 1 or 2 … * WASHINGTON (1/4/08)--The number of complaints regarding credit card issuers imposing maximum default rates of 30% or more on customers with credit scores of 700 or higher are growing. Lawmakers fear that in the coming months, issuers will participate in “hair-trigger repricing” and increase rates more (Dow Jones Jan. 3). Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit chairman, said Congress’ hands-off approach has spurred the practice. The New York State Banking Department reported that it receives more than 50 complaints a day about high interest rates, according to Jacqueline McCormack, agency spokesman. Some industry representatives said the high rates are the issuers’ way of protecting themselves, although JP Morgan Chase and Co. and Citigroup Inc. said they would no longer practice universal default. The Federal Reserve suggested that issuers provide a 45-day notice to cardholders if the rates will change …

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