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Inside Washington (05/04/2010)
* WASHINGTON (5/5/10)--The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and financial institutions will likely face an uphill battle with Congress over federal preemption. The Senate regulatory reform bill--slated for debate this week--does not eliminate preemption, but requires the OCC to complete several legal steps before exempting national banks from complying with state law. One step includes proving that an existing federal rule addresses the issue a state aims to rectify (American Banker May 4). The Senate bill would revive the Barnett Supreme Court standard, which allowed the OCC to preempt state laws case-by-case. State regulators are pushing to revise the bill so that its language says state laws cannot be preempted unless they interfere with a national bank’s operations. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is working on an amendment to address the industry’s concerns about preemption. Financial observers also note that because community banks and other financial institutions have more pressing lobbying priorities, the OCC may be alone in its fight against federal preemption ...


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