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Inside Washington (03/05/2009)
* WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--Minnesota credit union representatives met with their congressional members on Capitol Hill during the annual Hill hike event, which coincided with the Credit Union National Association’s Government Affairs Conference Feb. 21-26. Representatives met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), Rep. Betty McCollum (D), Rep. Collin Peterson (D), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Discussions focused on the economy, credit unions’ safety and soundness, mortgage cramdown legislation and member business lending. McCollum (pictured) said credit unions are stable and are a "high standard."(Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network) ... * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/6/09)--Addressing the North Carolina Credit Union League at a town hall forum Wednesday, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chair Rodney Hood underscored guidance released by the agency that addresses its Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Program. The letter, which was also sent to federal credit unions, discusses how the program may impact individual credit unions' earnings and net worth ratios. (See RELATED: Examiners to address corporate plan impact on CUs) ... * WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--The Credit Union National Association has released a summary of the guidelines and program description for President Barack Obama’s Making Home Affordable program, which aims to help homeowners making a good-faith effort to stay current on their mortgage payments. The summary also specifically notes how the program will affect credit unions ... * WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--If the Federal Reserve Board could issue its own debt, it could have the ability to fund more liquidity programs, according to financial industry observers. The idea of allowing the Fed to issue its own debt is gaining speed as the bank readies to inject billions of dollars in the market to boost banking lending (American Banker March 5). The other alternative would allow the Treasury to sell more debt and turn over the profits to the Fed. But if the Fed received money from the Treasury, Congress would be forced to increase the government’s debt ceiling. If the Fed was its own debt-issuer, no restriction would be imposed. According to Douglas Landy, former Fed lawyer, the central bank’s balanced sheet is maxed out ... * WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--While testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner provided new details about a proposal that the department plans to announce on creating a public-private partnership to buy toxic assets (American Banker March 5). The plan would “marry government financing,” using both the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. However, Geithner did not detail either agency’s roles. Government financing would be used to invigorate the markets, which would make private lending and borrowing more appealing. The program would use capital as a bridge to private capital, direct support to re-open credit markets and use government financing and private capital to unfreeze the markets, he said ... * WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--Guidance released by the Treasury Department Wednesday indicates that servicers participating in loan modifications through the Making Home Affordable program will need to take a step-by-step approach to help borrowers. According to the guidance, servicers will follow a sequence of steps to reduce borrowers’ monthly payment to no more than 31% of gross monthly income. The first step will require servicers to reduce the interest rate and then extend the term of the loan up to a maximum of 40 years and then, if needed, forbear principal ... * WASHINGTON (3/6/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) could cut in half a special emergency assessment fee announced last week if the House approves a bill that would raise the agency’s borrowing authority to $100 billion from $30 billion. The House was expected to vote on the bill Thursday (American Banker March 5). In an earlier American Banker story, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair noted that without the assessment fee, the Deposit Insurance Fund could become insolvent ...


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