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Inside Washington (05/20/2008)
* WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--A Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago conference hosted last week illustrated the difference of opinions shared between industry representatives and Congress on dealing with the mortgage market (American Banker May 20). James Rohr, chairman/CEO of PNC Financial Services Group, said legislation is not necessary and the market will take care of itself. He said the industry contributed to the mortgage crisis through poor underwriting standards and noted that banks must improve their due diligence. Richard Cantor, managing director of credit policy and research at Moody’s, blamed regulators, saying more transparency is needed. Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Board chairman, encouraged financial institutions to beef up their capital, and said that international regulators are working on Basel II. David Llewellyn, banking and finance professor at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, said raising capital and liquidity could create a safe banking system, but also a useless system ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Monday that it has launched a national public service announcement (PSA) campaign that will educate the public about their rights under the lending provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act. The PSA features actor Dennis Haysbert of the television show, “24.” Radio and newspaper ads aim to illustrate the challenges minority homeowners face when attempting to purchase a home. The campaign is available in English and Spanish. The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale and financing of a home on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday to discuss the impact of the conforming loan limits of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the housing market. The hearing will focus on the development of the market for “expanded conforming” mortgages created under the Recovery Rebate and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act, which became law in February of this year. Members also will examine what steps different market participants have taken to implement the new loan products and what obstacles stand in the way of the act’s broader acceptance, according to a statement on the committee’s website . A witness list has yet to be announced ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--The Consumer Advisory Council is scheduled to meet June 19. The council is expected to discuss proposed rules regarding credit card and overdraft services, proposed rules on risk-based pricing notices, and the Federal Reserve Board’s proposal under the Federal Trade Commission Act to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices by banks in connection with credit card accounts and overdraft services for deposit accounts ...

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