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Inside Washington (01/22/2010)
* WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--Missouri Credit Union Association’s (MCUA) President/CEO Rosie Holub and Kevin Brueseke, MCUA chief financial officer and chief operating officer, met with National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz and Senior Policy Adviser Sarah Vega in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (The Missouri difference Jan. 22). Scott Hunt, director of NCUA’s Office of Corporate Credit Unions; Mike McKenna, NCUA deputy general counsel; John McKechnie, director of public and congressional affairs; and Steve Bosack, Matz’s chief of staff, also attended. They discussed member business lending, risk-based capital, and two proposed rules regarding the corporate credit unions and the federal charter field of membership. MCUA also met with Reps. Todd Akin (R-2); Roy Blunt (R-7); William “Lacy” Clay (D-1); Jo Ann Emerson (R-8); Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-9) and Ike Skelton (D-4) ... * WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--The results of Ben Bernanke’s confirmation vote for a second term as Federal Reserve Board chairman might be even closer than expected, according to The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 21). Bernanke’s term expires at the end of the month. His confirmation vote will take place next week at the earliest. Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said they will vote against Bernanke. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also said he plans to vote against him. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was readying to file cloture--which requires 60 senators to limit debate on the nomination. A vote would come two days after the cloture is filed. A final vote--which could follow up to 30 hours of debate--requires a simple majority. If the full Senate votes the way the Senate Banking Committee did, 16-7, Bernanke would receive 69 votes--fewer than Paul Volcker, who received 84-16 when he was confirmed for a second term as chairman in 1983 ... * WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--A proposal by President Barack Obama Thursday to limit the size and scope of large financial institutions could be difficult to implement, according to some industry observers. Obama proposed limits on big banks and their ability to take on risk, and said he is ready to fight any opposition to the plan (The New York Times Jan. 22). The president also said the banking industry’s “irresponsibility” contributed to the financial crisis. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, appeared to agree with some of Obama’s positions. He told American Banker (Jan. 22) that some banks put themselves at risk--and banks that focused solely on banking were in “a lot less trouble.” However, Robert Albertson, chief strategist at Sandler O’Neill and Partners LP, said that the problem isn’t banks--it’s that credit is dead. Jamie Cox, managing partner with Harris Financial Group, said it would be difficult to limit banks’ portion of the nondeposit liability market because the problem affects banks globally ... * WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--The Obama administration is expected to revamp its Making Home Affordable program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and streamline the documents borrowers must submit to lower payments. The changes are expected to prompt mortgage companies to move faster in lowering borrowers’ payments. The changes also could help alleviate the paperwork mortgage companies must process to qualify borrowers for lower payments (The New York Times Jan. 22). However, requiring fewer documents could mean companies will lend to people who can’t afford their homes, and thus cause more delinquencies. Edward Pinto, mortgage industry consultant and former chief credit officer for Fannie Mae, said the program may change from one that tries to legitimately prevent foreclosures into one that simply postpones them. The $75 billion Making Home Affordable program has been slated as a “disappointment” by the industry ... * WASHINGTON (1/25/10)--The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is cleaning up its Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lending program by eliminating underperforming lenders (American Banker Jan. 22). Every three months, FHA will review all loans that were originated within the last two years. Lenders whose default and claim rates were more than triple than that of its region and higher than the national rate will be terminated. The first review will cover loans made through Dec. 31, 2009. HUD also will consider account changes in a lender’s circumstances, loan volumes and whether a lender operates in an underserved area. A terminated lender can be re-instated after six months but must undergo an analysis to figure out the cause of its high default rates ...


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