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Inside Washington (06/03/2010)
* WASHINGTON (6/4/10)--Lending to small businesses has been declining, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech this week in Detroit. Outstanding loans to small businesses dropped to $660 billion in the first quarter of this year from $700 billion in the second quarter of 2008. “From the potential borrower’s point of view, particularly a borrower who has been able to obtain loans in the past, these changes may feel like a reduction in the supply of credit; from the lender’s point of view, the problem appears to be a lack of demand from creditworthy borrowers,” Bernanke said. “Although lenders and borrowers may have different perspectives, our collective challenge is to help ensure that creditworthy borrowers have access to credit so that they can expand their businesses or increase payrolls, helping our economy to recover.” The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions have lobbied to lift credit unions’ caps on member business lending to 25% from 12.25%. CUNA figures show lifting the cap would bring $10 billion in new credit and create more than 100,000 new jobs ... * WASHINGTON (6/4/10)--Auto lending could experience tighter regulation because of the financial crisis, and financial observers anticipate that this tightening will specifically affect car repossession. Car repossession is governed by state laws, but some financial experts say more oversight of the auto industry could take place through regulatory reform. If there is an “integrated consumer finance regulator, I have no doubt that auto finance, broadly speaking, would be an important area for it to focus its agenda,” said Raj Date, chairman and executive director of the Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institutions Policy. There were two million self-help repossessions in 2009, some by unlicensed individuals and criminals, said the National Consumer Law Center (American Banker June 3). No license is required to carry out repossessions in 33 states, the center said. The center has proposed that states stop self-help repossession and involve law enforcement authorities. Some also say repossession agents should complete a standard licensing process, the Banker said ...


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