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Inside Washington (01/13/2011)
* WASHINGTON (1/14/11)--The January 2011 NCUA Report newsletter features the new financial literacy provisions for federal credit union directors, National Credit Union Administration Board actions taken at the December meeting. It also includes articles on contingency fund planning, managing mobile banking risk, and how credit unions fare in mortgage delinquency trends. NCUA Board member articles address understanding the regulators role, restricting vendor information, and the recent "Game Change." The complete document is available online here … * WASHINGTON (1/14/11)--The first indication of how regulators will interpret the Dodd-Frank Act comes next week when the Financial Stability Oversight Council outlines enforcement of the Volcker Rule, which bans proprietary trading and puts limits on risky investments (American Banker Jan. 13). Along with mandating the Volcker Rule, the act created the council, and gave it six months to define how proprietary trading should be reined in. Among the challenges are the different perspectives of its 15 members, who represent every area of financial services from banking to securities to insurance. If the council makes a relaxed interpretation of Volcker Rule, observers also expect it will take the same approach on its other primary mandate: deciding which nonbanks are systemically important. Companies determined to be systemically important will be held to the same oversight and rules as the largest banks, including when to inform the government and how they should be restored if they face financial challenges … * WASHINGTON (1/14/11)--Timed for tax season, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has launched a pilot to offer taxpayers a safe, convenient and low-cost financial account for the electronic delivery of their federal tax refunds. The new account card option provides everyday money-saving conveniences and consumer protection features for Americans with limited or no access to traditional banking services. As the next step in this pilot, Treasury will mail letters next week to 600,000 low- and moderate-income individuals nationwide. The letters will invite these taxpayers to consider activating a MyAccountCard Visa Prepaid Debit Card in time to have their 2010 federal tax refund direct deposited to the card. Compared with paper checks, direct deposit provides a safer, faster and more convenient way to receive a federal tax refund and other regular income, said the Treasury. Melissa Koide, policy director for the Chicago-based Center for Financial Services Innovation, lauded the move by the Treasury. “It bolsters the credibility of a quickly maturing market already well versed in serving low-income consumers. The pilot is an excellent start to bringing low cost transaction and savings products to millions of tax filers” …

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