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Inside Washington (01/27/2010)
* WASHINGTON (1/28/10)--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called a cloture vote for today for the re-appointment of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term. The cloture vote is used to overcome filibuster threats. After the cloture passes, a simply majority is needed to confirm Bernanke (American Banker Jan. 27). On Friday, Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said they would not support the re-nomination ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/10)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is considering whether to continue negotiating with Republicans on regulatory reform or pursue a partisan approach. Dodd plans to meet with Democratic members of his committee this week. Last week, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Republicans on the banking panel not to support a bill unless they were certain it would be “a good deal” (American Banker Jan. 27). Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is working with Dodd on regulatory reform and hopes for a bipartisan agreement, a Shelby aide told American Banker ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/10)--The Federal Reserve Board is weighing a new benchmark interest rate with interest paid on extra fund reserves. Deposits held with the Fed above required amounts totaled $1 trillion in the two weeks ended Jan. 13, compared with $2.2 billion in January 2007 (American Banker Jan. 27). The reserves were created by the Fed with emergency loans and purchases of $1.7 trillion in mortgage-backed securities. If the deposit rate of 0.25% were raised, banks would keep their money with the Fed and refrain from lending too much until the economy turns around ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/10)--President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit growth at big banks by banning proprietary trading and curb risk-taking echoes some core components of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era bill that banned proprietary trading. Glass-Steagall became largely ineffective in 1999 when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was implemented (American Banker Jan. 27). After Gramm-Leach-Bliley, big banks earned large profits because the act allowed them to buy and sell stocks within their own accounts. However, Obama’s proposal would not fully reinstate Glass-Steagall because banks would still be allowed to underwrite securities. Paul Volcker, former Fed chairman who championed Obama’s proposal to ban proprietary trading, will provide more details on the proposal Feb. 2 at a Senate Banking Committee hearing ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/10)--A panel created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to tackle issues affecting community banks will meet Thursday to discuss the financial sector’s attempts to increase lending. Other issues to be discussed include interest rate risk, failed-bank resolution processes, and examinations. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET at the FDIC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. ...


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