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Inside Washington (05/13/2009)
* WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--Bill Seidman, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman, died Wednesday at the age of 88. Seidman, who served as chair of the FDIC from 1985 to 1991, noted publicly in 2002 that credit unions have one of the most powerful political organizations (News Now Sept. 27, 2002) ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--National Credit Union Association (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rodney Hood met with the Credit Union Association of New Mexico last week during a town hall meeting to talk about the Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Program. Hood said some suggested that the corporates be allowed to fail, but “failures aren’t an option in my book. There would have been chaos if we allowed that failure,” he said. Hood also said NCUA is improving transparency about the plans after criticism that natural person credit unions were kept in the dark about the corporate situation. NCUA also is hiring a new group to oversee the corporates, including adding a director of corporate credit unions, director of capital markets and director of risk management. From left are Scott Connely, CEO of Sandia Area FCU, Albuquerque, and Hood. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico) ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair and Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan have opposite views on regulatory restructuring. Bair has asked Congress to give the FDIC enhanced resolution powers and create a council made up of regulators to assess systemic risk. Dugan, who sits on the FDIC board, has argued that the FDIC is not qualified to resolve systemically significant institutions and said the Federal Reserve Board should supervise the largest institutions (American Banker May 13). The FDIC can handle institutions that have slowed down, but in cases when the government decides to keep up a failed institution, the FDIC should only help if the institution in need is a banking institution, Dugan said. Bair said the FDIC could resolve any company without compromising its mission, and should be able to do so because it is the only agency with relevant experience helping troubled firms ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--Senate Banking Committee Chair Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) indicated Tuesday that he may not have enough time to work on mortgage lending reform this year (American Banker May 13). The issue is likely to be controversial and will need a lot of time, the senator said. Dodd also noted that his committee will have to tackle regulatory reform and expedite a bill that would allow the government to take control of failing systemic firms. Dodd also noted that the kind of “loose” mortgage lending that triggered the financial crisis has ceased and other issues he’s dealing with are more current ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced it will open a temporary satellite office this fall in Jacksonville, Fla., to manage receiverships and to liquidate assets from failed financial institutions in eastern states. The office will provide facilities for up to 500 nonpermanent staff and contractors. Staffing will be based on workload needs. The FDIC expects to gradually begin moving in the space in mid-September ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--The federal government has paid out less than 6% of the $787 billion economic stimulus package approved by President Barack Obama in February (The New York Times May 13). The administration said the program is moving along as scheduled, although it has not spent much money. The stimulus bill put $45.6 billion into the economy for Medicaid and unemployment so far. The Obama administration has committed 70% of the money to be spent in the first two years, but some states have complained the money hasn’t reached them yet. Economists also have questioned if the package really will create or save 150,000 jobs, as Obama said the package intended to do. However, the government spent more than $10 billion in stimulus funds last week, and the speed could build as the program grows, according to officials. Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview that the “velocity” would increase not just “arithmetically, but geometrically” ... * WASHINGTON (5/14/09)--The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan programs are re-energizing after temporary changes to lending programs were placed in President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, according to SBA Administrator Karen Mills. The package was signed into law Feb. 17. About 361 lenders have made new loans for the first time since last September, and of those, 166 had not made a loan since December 2007. Mills said SBA will work with the Treasury to create a program to use $15 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund direct government purchases of SBA loan-backed securities from broker-dealers (American Banker May 14). The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has been in touch with the SBA to urge the agency to remove structural roadblocks to programs like its 7 (a) guaranteed lending program to enable more credit unions to participate. Credit unions have about 7,096 SBA loans with a balance of $519,308,696. The average loan size is $73,183, according to CUNA research ...


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