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Inside Washington (03/11/2010)
* WASHINGTON (3/12/10)--Anti-money laundering (AML) issues are resurfacing on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, lawmakers raised concerns at a House Financial Services subcommittee meeting about the oversight of money services businesses (MSBs). The meeting was held to discuss a bill by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), which would create an office in the Treasury to monitor MSBs’ compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), according to American Banker (March 11). The bill could help financial institutions by reducing pressure to monitor the businesses. MSBs currently are required to comply with BSA and other AML statutes. There are an estimated 200,000 MSBs, with 40,831 registered, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Financial institutions are often wary about doing business with MSBs because of regulatory scrutiny and concern about anti-laundering violations, the Banker said ... * WASHINGTON (3/12/10)--Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said that they will introduce a bill that would implement the Volcker Rule. Named after former Federal Reserve Board Chair Paul Volcker, the rule aims to ban proprietary trading (American Banker March 11). Levin and Merkley said the Proprietary Trading Act would ban such trading by federally insured depository institutions and also prevent commercial banks from investing in hedge or private equity funds. Levin said by the fall of 2008 that financial firms suffered about $230 billion in losses from proprietary trading. The bill would conditionally exempt certain trading, including low-risk proprietary trading and risk-mitigating hedging ... * WASHINGTON (3/12/10)--The Obama administration has not outlined a plan for reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because it is focused on other issues. However, it plans to tackle reform in 2011, said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (American Banker March 11). The administration plans to release more details on overhauling Fannie and Freddie during a House Financial Services Committee hearing March 23. The department also will release a list of questions on strategy for public comment, he said ... * WASHINGTON (3/12/10)--The Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) is seeking comment on applications for its Native American CDFI Assistance program. The agency seeks input on whether offering separate applications for financial assistance and technical assistance (TA) components would reduce the burden on applicants; whether an applicant eligibility screen should be applied before the application deadline, allowing applicants to determine beforehand if they are qualified for an award; whether detailed Matching Funds documentation should be collected later in the application review process, and if so, what would be a reasonable time to expect an applicant to provide the data; the merit of reducing the narrative page limits in the application; the potential burden of requiring specific documents to support proposed uses of TA funds; and the potential burden of requiring other documentation to support the application. Comments are due May 10 ...


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