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Inside Washington (02/24/2010)
* WASHINGTON (2/25/10)—Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has delayed the release of his regulatory reform bill. His office said last week the bill would be introduced soon, but pending votes on health care legislation and other disputes over the reform bill will likely prevent it from surfacing (American Banker Feb. 24). Dodd has been working on a discussion draft that he released in November. He had aimed to pass the bill out of the committee in March … * WASHINGTON (2/25/10)—The Volcker rule—which aims to ban proprietary trading and is named after former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker--could be scrapped, according to financial observers (The Wall Street Journal). President Barack Obama proposed the rule in January as part of a broader package to reform financial regulation. Some lawmakers have resisted the measure. Next week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and other lawmakers could introduce a plan that would provide regulators with more discretion to limit risky trading at banks. The measure wouldn’t ban trading outright, however … * WASHINGTON (2/25/10)--Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported a profit of $914 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, a $38.7 billion improvement from the $37.8 billion net loss the industry sustained in the fourth quarter of 2008, but still well below historical norms for quarterly profits, the FDIC said in a release Tuesday. More than half of all institutions---50.3%--reported year-over-year improvements in their quarterly net income. "Consistent with a recovering economy, we saw signs of improvement in industry performance," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair. "But as we have said before, recovery in the banking industry tends to lag behind the economy, as the industry works through its problem assets." Other findings FDIC noted: full-year revenues were higher than in 2008, and the number and assets of institutions on the agency’s problem list rose to 702 as of December, from 552 on Sept. 30. Assets of problem institutions increased to $402.8 billion from $345.9 billion. FDIC’s liquid resources also rose to $66 billion at year-end from $23 billion at the end of September … * WASHINGTON (2/25/10)—The Treasury Department will resume its supplementary financing account to lend to the Federal Reserve, the department said Tuesday. The department created the account in September 2008, but it was halted because it almost reached its mandatory debt ceiling, said American Banker (Feb. 24). Congress voted last year to increase the limit to $200 billion from $5 billion. The Treasury will host $25 billion auctions during the next eight weeks. The first auction was to begin Wednesday … * WASHINGTON (2/25/10)--Delivering the Federal Reserve's semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the Fed will need to maintain extremely low interest rates over an "extended period" to aid the United States economy as it continues its recovery. Bernanke added that the Fed is considering additional moves to make when interest rates go back up...


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