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Inside Washington (02/17/2010)
* WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--A small financial institution has won a case against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) regarding an enforcement order the bank challenged (American Banker Feb. 17). FDIC had attempted a preemptive order against Advanta Bank in December, preventing Advanta from dealing with its bankrupt parent, Advanta Corp. The FDIC said it had special authority to preclude Advanta from challenging the order. However, U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Judge John Facciola sided with Advanta, saying that the FDIC misused its authority. The bank’s dealings with its bankrupt parent did not lead to the bank’s dissolution, Facciola said. The agency is reviewing the decision, said an FDIC spokesperson. The decision serves as a “wake up call” to regulators to stay within their authority when they exercise powers over financial institutions to address the financial crisis, said Advanta’s attorney, Andrew Sandler. In November, Advanta Corp. filed for bankruptcy ... * WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--Eleven lenders who received bailout money originated $178.1 billion of new loans in December, up 13% from November, according to a Treasury survey report. The gains were in home mortgages, credit cards, home equity lines of credit and other loans (American Banker Feb. 18). Total average loan balances rose 13% from December 2008, and total loan originations rose by 17%. Outstanding mortgage balances were up 29% compared with balances in December 2008, and total mortgage originations increased 81%, the survey report added ... * WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--The bulk of stimulus spending is yet to come, according to The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 18). The stimulus program turns a year old this week, and about $180 billion allocated for water projects and new rail lines will be spent this year at the earliest, the newspaper said. The infrastructure spending is scheduled to hit in the second year of the program, which means more private-sector employees will receive money. Economists say the change will not affect the unemployment rate, but the shift could be politically significant because Republicans have been critical of the lack of private business hiring as a result of the stimulus, the newspaper added. The Obama administration has said the stimulus money has helped support two million jobs. Most stimulus spending, so far, has benefited public employees, including school teachers and staff ... * WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has proposed a rule for new housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The goals define the target levels of loans from different income-level groups. For this year and 2011, FHFA is proposing three single-family home-purchase goals: low-income families, very-low income families, and families in low-income/high minority/disaster areas. The rule also sets goals for single-family refinance mortgages for low-income families. Separately, the FHFA has proposed multi-family housing goals for low-income families and for very low-income families ... * WASHINGTON (2/18/10)--A U.S. District Court of Appeals has affirmed a decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board, which had affirmed a decision by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to remove one of its former examiners, Margaret Considine, for poor performance. Considine had appealed the board’s decision to the court. The board said that it would not overturn any agency decision “supported by relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Considine worked for NCUA as an examiner at the Region 1 office in Albany, N.Y. She contends that NCUA removed her for reprisal in whistleblowing activities, and because she had filed grievances against her supervisors from 1998 to 2008. On March 18, 2008, Considine was given a notice of unacceptable performance and was placed on a 120-day performance improvement plan. On Sept. 20, 2008, she was notified by the associate regional director that her performance had not improved and recommended that she be removed. She appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board on Dec. 29, 2008 ...


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