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Inside Washington (02/26/2009)
* WASHINGTON (2/27/09)--More than 70 Pennsylvania credit union leaders attended a congressional breakfast sponsored Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference. Congressional delegates attending included Jason Altmire (D); Chris Carney (D); Charles Dent (R); Patrick Murphy (D); Tim Murphy (R); Allyson Schwartz (D); Bill Shuster (R); and Glenn Thompson (R). Also attending was a representative of Rep. John Murtha's (D) office. Visits to Capitol Hill Wednesday included meetings with Sen. Arlen Specter (R) and Rep. Jim Herlach (R), Tim Holden (D) and Todd Platts (R). PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack and Christina Mihalik, PCUA vice president, governmental affairs, joined Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU President/CEO Jay Murray and his staff for a visit with Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) to provide and update on the corporate credit union system. Newly elected Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D) was visited by PCUA Board director Norb Kaczmarek, CEO, Erie FCU; Dave Ackerman, CEO of USX FCU, and USX board member Christopher Panian … * WASHINGTON (2/27/09)--The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is scheduled to meet today to set deposit insurance premium rates for second quarter, but many expect its staff to recommend charging a special assessment on the banking industry so it can boost federal reserves (American Banker Feb. 26). Although such an assessment has not been determined, sources said officials may consider a rate between 14 and 16 cents for every $100 in domestic deposits. If FDIC elects to go this route, sources said the special assessment would be charged in the second quarter on top of current premiums. Most banks typically pay 12 to 14 basis points at present … * WASHINGTON (2/27/09)--Former Washington State Gov. Gary Locke has been tapped by President Barack Obama as the latest nominee for secretary of commerce (The New York Times Feb. 26). He is Obama's third nominee for the position. Two other nominees--New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire--withdrew their nominations. Richard cited a federal investigation into state contracting. Gregg, a Republican, decided he and Obama weren't in tune on issues. Locke--a partner in Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, where he represented Microsoft and other firms doing business in China--is a pro-trade Democrat. He was the nation's first Chinese-American governor from 1997 to 2005 … * WASHINGTON (2/27/09)--Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) Director John Reich said Thursday that consolidation of regulators won't be a cure-all for the gaps that exist in financial regulation and noted there are still advantages to thrift charters. OTS regulates 810 thrifts focused mostly on mortgage lending. Policymakers have in the past several months called for a consolidation of OTS and the regulator of the nation's largest banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Moving boxes on a chart will not assure that we have a level playing field and will not ensure that gaps in regulation that have existed and still exist are covered," Reich said (Reuters Feb. 26) … * WASHINGTON (2/27/09)--The Treasury Department Wednesday revealed specifics on how it and an interagency team of federal regulators would perform stress tests on the nation's 19 largest banks to determine if their capital is enough to survive a deep recession. Banks with more than $100 billion in assets will undergo two tests: a baseline scenario reflecting consensus expectations and a more adverse scenario. Both would project the gross domestic product (GDP) growth, the unemployment rate, and changes in housing prices. The adverse scenario would assume a GDP of -3.3% in 2009 and a gain of 0.5% in 2010; an unemployment rate of 8.9% in 2009 and 10.3% in 2010; and house price declines of 22% in 2009 and 7% in 2010. The Treasury expects the tests to be finished by the end of April. If a test indicates a bank's capital is inadequate, the bank will have six months to raise the funds via private investors or by accessing capital from the Treasury. Analysts say the real story is how the government will convince private investors to invest in undercapitalized banks (American Banker Feb. 26) …


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