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Inside Washington (03/18/2009)
* WASHINGTON (3/19/09)--A push to create a federal regulator to oversee insurance companies is gaining ground after congressional members and financial industry observers criticized American International Group’s (AIG) $165 million bonus package. At a hearing this week, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said AIG’s lack of supervision have brought up questions about state supervision’s adequacy (American Banker March 18). It may make sense to consider regulating insurance companies nationally, he said. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) also said one system of rules, as opposed to a “spotty” system of 50 jurisdictions, may be more effective. Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, noted--in response to Shelby’s argument that states cannot handle insurance conglomerates alone--that the issue is whether the regulator is effective ... * WASHINGTON (3/19/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced Tuesday that it will impose surcharges on guaranteed debt with a maturity of one year or more issued on or after April 1. For guaranteed debt that is issued by June 30, 2009, and matures by June 30, 2012, the surcharge will be 10 basis points annually for an insured depository institution and 20 basis points annually for all others. Surcharges will be added to current fees for guaranteed debt and deposited into the Deposit Insurance Fund instead of being set aside to cover potential Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program losses. The charges should enable the FDIC to reduce the 20 Basis Point Special Assessment proposed by the board Feb. 27, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said ... * WASHINGTON (3/19/09)--Giving the Federal Reserve Board more power to oversee systemic risk may be a hard sell after a hearing Tuesday indicated that lawmakers have concerns about increasing the Fed’s oversight. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has said he would begin drafting a bill in May about the topic, but lawmakers expressed their doubts. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) said giving the Fed more power could conflict with its consumer protection responsibilities and monetary policy (American Banker March 18). Creating a new regulator may be more effective, he said. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) said the Fed should give up some of its powers before taking on systemic risk ...

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