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Inside Washington (03/28/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (3/29/12)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Benjamin Bernanke said it would be a great accomplishment to end the "too big to fail" era as part of financial reform. Bernanke, speaking before a group of George Washington University students, said too big to fail is unfair, and bad for the financial system and financial institutions (American Banker March 28). It fosters an incentive for large institutions to take bigger risks because of an implied understanding the government would not allow them to fail, he said. At the time of the financial crisis, regulators didn't have the necessary tools to safely let institutions fail without threatening the entire financial system. Rules created by the Dodd-Frank Act provide regulators with those tools, Bernanke said. Dodd-Frank also prohibits the Fed's emergency lending powers that allowed it to provide funding to non-banks, he added …
  • WASHINGTON (3/29/12)--U.S. banks, businesses, and consumers are benefiting from an agreement between the Federal Reserve and other central banks to swap dollars for Euros and other foreign currencies, William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Tuesday told the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy. "Our principal aim is to protect U.S. banks, businesses and consumers from adverse economic trends abroad," Dudley said, noting that the swaps seem to be working. "In conjunction with the European Central Bank's long-term refinancing operations, the swaps have helped European banks avoid the significant liquidity pressures we feared a few months ago and have reduced the risk that they would need to sell off their U.S. dollar assets abruptly," he said. …
  • WASHINGTON (3/29/12)--The House on Tuesday approved a bill that raises the threshold that requires banks to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 500 shareholders to 2,000. The provision also increases the threshold that triggers de-registration from 300 shareholders to 1,200 (American Banker March 28). The bill, known as the JOBS Act, will allow some small banks to avoid the costs of SEC registration. The bill is part of a larger package of legislation aimed at making it easier for small businesses to raise capital. The bill passed by a 380-41 margin, and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The Senate approved the bill by a 73-26 margin March 22 …
  • WASHINGTON (3/29/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expected to release a final rule by the end of June that would require lenders to verify a borrower's ability to repay a mortgage, unless they make a loan that falls under the definition of a "qualified mortgage (QM)" Raj Date, the deputy director of the CFPB said Tuesday (American Banker March 28). Before the rule came under the CFPB's authority, the Federal Reserve offered two alternative QM proposals. One would provide a total safe harbor from liability for lenders, an approach favored by the industry. The other would provide a "rebuttable presumption" protection. Date did not say which approach the CFPB favors …


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