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Inside Washington (03/04/2010)
* WASHINGTON (3/5/10)--The Treasury Department has released more details about how a proposed Volcker rule, named after former Fed chair Paul Volcker, would affect proprietary trading and cap financial institution size. The Obama administration wants to limit banks from holding more than 10% of the industry’s net liabilities (American Banker March 4). The curb would apply when a bank tries to acquire more institutions. The details released by the Treasury also defined proprietary trading as purchasing or selling, or acquiring or disposing of stocks, bonds, options, commodities, derivatives or other financial instruments for the company’s trading, not on behalf of a customer, for marketing-making activities or for facilitating a customer relationship ... * WASHINGTON (3/5/10)--Financial industry observers worry that lawmakers’ concerns over how to regulate consumer protection would actually leave holes in consumer protection plans and result in an uneven the playing field between banks and nonbanks. The latest proposal would create a division of the Federal Reserve Board that would write rules for all lenders but would have no enforcement or authority over nonbanks--such as payday lenders and check cashers (American Banker March 4). Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, questioned how lawmakers could create a consumer protection agency to regulate bank and nonbank products while not giving the authority to enforce rules against predatory products. The proposal is being discussed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) ... * WASHINGTON (3/5/10)--“Saturday Night Live” comedians and veterans performed in a sketch that promoted the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency and was posted on funnyordie.com Wednesday. The sketch, directed by Ron Howard, features President Obama, played by Fred Armisen, dreaming about the proposed agency with appearances from six former U.S. presidents. The presidents, played by actors including Will Ferrell, Dana Carvey, Darrell Hammond, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey and Chevy Chase, encourage Obama to enact the agency. At the opening of the sketch, Obama said that he wants to enact a consumer protection agency to protect consumers, and “lobbyists and Sen. [Richard] Shelby [R-Ala.] act like I want to change the national anthem.” The sketch’s actors also noted that banks and credit card companies are “ripping off” consumers ...


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