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Inside Washington (04/19/2012)
  • ALEXANDRIA, Va. (4/20/12)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) changed the Orlando, Fla. meeting of its "Listening Sessions" by one day: It is now scheduled for June 13 instead of June 12. The time and location remain the same: 1:00–4:00 p.m. at the Rosen Centre Hotel. The Florida event is the fourth of the agency's series of six sessions intended to provide opportunities for credit union officials and volunteers to suggest how the NCUA can improve the examination process, regulations, and any other initiatives to protect credit union safety and soundness… 
  • WASHINGTON (4/20/12)—In a mostly party-line vote, the House Financial Services Committee this week approved a legislative package that would bring funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Congressional appropriations process and end government-funded bank bailouts, among other things. The legislative package would also eliminate the Home Affordable Modification Program and extend the National Flood Insurance Program for an additional five years, and reform elements of that program. A recent House budget resolution asked the committee to identify cuts and legislative changes that would save around $30 billion in taxpayer funds over a 10 year period. These changes would cut the national deficit by more than $35 billion, according to a committee release. The proposals are not expected to pass the Senate…
  • WASHINGTON (4/20/12)--U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner restated his support for writing down some of the mortgages held by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week, saying that mortgage principal forgiveness would help a "significant" number of families. (American Banker April 19) Geithner said the mortgage reductions would almost certainly improve taxpayer returns in Fannie and Freddie. Mortgage modifications for those that can afford their homes, refinancing assistance, and renting out now-vacant foreclosed on properties would also aid the housing market recovery, he added…
  • WASHINGTON (4/20/12)--As the U.S. Congress considers the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness Act, which in part would create a new appeals process with an outside ombudsman for all federal financial institution regulators, the American Banker ran an interview with the ombudsman of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Larry Hattix, to address such areas of banks' regulatory concerns as: What is the role of the ombudsman? How does the OCC assure banks that its ombudsman is independent? How does the OCC view the plan to reform the examination appeals process? Hattix responded that it is the ombudsman's role to operate independently from the agency's bank supervision division and to report directly to the Comptroller, and reminded that the ombudsman's authority over the agency includes ability to overrule supervisory office decisions. His office conducts outreach meetings with banks and savings association to inform on the appeals process, and also maintains a Web site to provide additional resources about its dispute resolution process. Regarding the proposed statutory reforms, Hattix said his office has concern that creating an outside appeals bureaucracy could gum up the works and delay the exam process and corrective actions. In response to another question, Hattix noted that the most common appeals the OCC ombudsman receives generally involve composite or component ratings of a bank's financial condition and law violations, but he added that within those broad categories, specifics vary greatly… .


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