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Inside Washington (04/03/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (4/4/12)--The Federal Reserve Board has revised the proposed requirements that will determine when a nonbank financial company falls under Federal Reserve supervision as "systematically important." The Dodd-Frank Act specified the Financial Stability Oversight Council can designate a company as "systematically important" if 85% of the company's assets or revenues are related to financial activities. The Federal Reserve issued a draft of the related rule on financial activities in February 2011 but has since revised that rule based on comment letters. The updated proposal issued this week specifies certain activities that are considered "financial," including lending; providing investment or financial advisory services; or exchanging or transfering of money and securities (American Banker April 2). Comments on the proposal are due by May 25 …
  • WASHINGTON (4/4/12)--Thomas Curry will officially become the comptroller of the currency on Sunday. Curry was nominated in June 2011 to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Action by the Senate was delayed by political wrangling over nominees for financial regulatory posts, with the appointment confirmed in late March. The previous comptroller, John Dugan, completed his term in August 2010, with the position filled during the interim by Acting Comptroller John Walsh (American Banker April 2). A member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) board since January 2004, Curry previously served as Massachusetts commissioner of banks from 1990 to 1991 and from 1995 to 2003 and is chairman of the board of NeighborWorks America, a non-profit that aids community-based neighborhood revitalization. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of Martin Gruenberg, Thomas Hoenig and Jeremiah Norton to serve on the FDIC board …
  • WASHINGTON (4/4/12)--Democrats on the Senate are pressing the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to make further efforts to allow refinancing by homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages (American Banker April 3). In a letter to FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco, the 12 Democrats on the committee said the recently announced expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, known as HARP 2.0, falls short in assisting troubled homeowners. The two-page letter makes three specific suggestions: reducing or eliminating loan-level price adjustments for HARP refinances where Fannie and Freddie already carry credit risk; streamlining the refinance process for homeowners with more than 20% equity in their homes; and reducing the risk that Fannie and Freddie will put back mortgages to the loan originator, thereby removing disincentives to refinancing …
  • WASHINGTON (4/4/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently said that, in its interpretation, financial institutions may contribute to qualified profit sharing, 401(k), and stock ownership plans ("qualified plans") for employees and loan originators, if employer contributions to such plans are derived from profits generated by mortgage loan originations. The agency in CFPB Bulletin 2012-02 noted it had received a number of questions regarding the payment of compensation to loan originators under Regulation Z. That rule prohibits payments to loan originators, including mortgage brokers and loan officers, based upon the terms or conditions of the loan such as the interest rate. The CFPB said the compensation rules do not expressly address whether the loan origination provisions apply to contributions made to so-called "qualified plans." The CFPB said it would soon issue a proposed rule on loan origination provisions, and would also address how the compensation rules apply to profit-sharing arrangements/plans "that are not in the nature of qualified plans." ...


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