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Inside Washington (04/20/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry on Thursday noted that eligible borrowers affected by government settlement with the country's five largest mortgage servicers can sign up for the Office of Comptroller of Currency's foreclosure-review process. "I want people to know this process is free to eligible borrowers who ask for a file review, and that they give up absolutely none of their rights in asking for the independent review of their case," Curry said in a speech at a conference on reviving home ownership. "All eligible borrowers who request a review can be assured that their file will be reviewed professionally and evaluated fairly to determine whether errors resulted in financial injury." The deadline for requesting a review is July 31. Later this month an additional round of outreach and advertising will begin to help increase awareness of the program, Curry said …
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--While small-business lending has made a recovery since the recession, gaps remain in the market, Karen Mills, head of the Small Business Administration (SBA) said in American Banker (April 20). That gap is in small loans and the underserved markets, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses, Mills said. Banks and other lenders made $30.5 billion of SBA-backed loans to small businesses in fiscal year 2011, a 35% increase from 2011. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' members business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said …
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--The House Financial Services Committee last week voted to terminate the Office of Financial Research (OFR) and sharply questioned an OFR official during a hearing. During the hearing, Republicans criticized the OFR open-ended budget authority and its failure to provide more specifics about how it will evaluate its own performance. Michele Shannon, OFR chief operating officer, said office is aware of concerns about data privacy, and will seek to minimize duplicative data-collection with other federal agencies. Shannon said the OFR exists to fill the gaps of other agencies. Rep. James Renacci (R-Ohio) questioned whether OFR is providing specific information about its expenditures. He cited a request for $29 million to cover expenses for one quarter of the current fiscal year …
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--Banks will be expected to fully comply with the so-called Volcker Rule by July 21, 2014, or two years after the rule technically takes effect, regulators announced Thursday. The rule bars banks from proprietary trading and limits their investments in private-equity and hedge funds …
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last week provided guidance about compliance with the fair lending requirements of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. After the bulletin's release, during a panel discussion at a National Community Reinvestment Coalition conference in Washington, Patrice Ficklin, the agency's assistant director for fair lending, said fair lending touches every aspect of what the agency does (American Banker April 20). Ficklin said the office, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act, interacts with different offices and programs across CFPB, including bank and nonbank supervision, rulemaking and community engagement. CFPB has authority to enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Prudential regulators enforce the other two fair lending laws--the Fair Housing Act and the Community Reinvestment Act …
  • WASHINGTON (4/23/12)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN) will meet Thursday to discuss the results of its Model Safe Accounts Pilot program; opportunities for banks offering mobile financial services to meet the needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers; and differences in consumer protections for debit, credit and prepaid cards. The committee will also welcome four new members: Robert Annibale, global director of Citi Community Development and Microfinance; José Cisneros, treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco; Andrea Levere, president/CEO of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED); and John C. Weicher, senior fellow and director, Center for Housing and Financial Markets, Hudson Institute. The FDIC's Model Safe Accounts pilot, with nine financial institutions participating, was launched in January 2011 for one year to determine the feasibility of banks offering safe, low-cost transaction and savings accounts. The results of the pilot will be presented to the committee and the final report will be released at the ComE-IN meeting …


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