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Inside Washington (01/18/2010)
* WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--The Federal Reserve should keep interest rates at “near zero” for the next couple months, said New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley (Dow Jones Jan. 15). Dudley spoke with PBS in an interview Wednesday. The target rate likely will stay at exceptionally low levels for six months, he said. Dudley also suggested the Fed stop its planned purchase of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities by March because the economy is starting to improve ... * WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--In a report to Senate Banking Committee members, the Federal Reserve Board argued that it should keep its supervisory powers for several reasons (American Banker Jan. 15). The Fed said it is knowledgeable about monetary policy and consolidated supervision. Its current supervisory role also benefits central bank functions, the Fed added. The Fed submitted the report as senators consider Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd’s (D-Conn.) regulatory reform bill, which would strip the Fed of its powers and give them to another agency ... * WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify Jan. 27 before a panel in the House that is investigating why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York told American International Group (AIG) not to disclose the government’s bailout to investors. Lawmakers are expected to ask Geithner about e-mails written in 2008 between the New York Fed and AIG (American Banker Jan. 15). Geithner headed the New York Fed during that time. Thomas Baxter, general counsel for the New York Fed, also is slated to testify. Baxter said in a statement Jan. 8 that Geithner was not involved in the issue ... * WASHINGTON (1/19/10)--Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission members Thursday questioned Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro about SEC’s failure to take care of problems at the institutions it regulated. At the meeting, Schapiro said her agency is not flawed and that other agencies don’t have to ask lawmakers when they need funding (American Banker Jan. 15). She cited the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), which can raise money from deposit insurance premiums. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair also was questioned during the hearing. Brooksley Born, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, asked Bair if the market still poses a systemic risk and whether regulatory reform is needed. Bair said both should “be a high priority for Congress,” and that regulators can only do so much until legislation is enacted. Also, Attorney General Eric Holder updated commission members on mortgage fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently analyzing 2,800 cases, a 400% increase over the past five years ...


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