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Inside Washington (06/12/2009)
* WASHINGTON (6/15/09)--The Obama administration is expected to detail its regulatory revamp Wednesday, and lawmakers have outlined their ideas for restructuring the financial regulatory system. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he supports his Republican counterparts on limiting the Federal Reserve Board’s emergency powers, restricting credit agencies’ roles, and dissolving the Office of Thrift Supervision. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has expressed commitment to create an independent consumer protection agency to oversee credit and bank products. The regulator should be included in a proposed systemic risk council, he said. Republicans have proposed taking away much of the Fed’s authority and putting bank oversight under one regulator. Instead of a risk council, Republicans also said they want a “market stability and capital adequacy board” (American Banker June 12). Democrats have said they want a resolution process for systemically significant financial institutions. The Treasury has indicated the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. should handle the resolution process, but Frank said the decision would include other regulators ... * WASHINGTON (6/15/09)--The inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Congressional Oversight Panel, who are acting as watchdogs for the federal bailout, said they have begun estimating stock warrant values as banks return capital to the government. The estimates aim to ensure the amount on the returns is appropriate (American Banker June 12). Neil Barofsky, special inspector general, and Elizabeth Warren, the panel’s chairman, said they also plan to audit the warrant sale process. The audit seeks to examine the Treasury’s process to value the warrants for repurchase ... * WASHINGTON (6/15/09)--On Thursday, Bank of America Corp. CEO Kenneth Lewis was questioned about his company’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch and Co. last fall (American Banker June 12). During a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Lawmakers tried to determine whether Lewis followed through with the deal after former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told him that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke would fire him and his board if the purchase was not completed. Lewis had been hesitant about the deal because of losses Merrill suffered. Lewis said he was not concerned with the threat, but the fact that the Fed would threaten a bank he said was in good standing. Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said lawmakers should look at the Fed’s role in the Merrill deal as the government works on financial regulatory reform. It appeared as though regulators were making up their own rules, and more transparency and accountability is needed, he said ... * WASHINGTON (6/15/09)--Roger T. Cole, director of the Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation at the Federal Reserve Board, will retire Aug. 1 after 30 years of service. Cole has served as division director since September 2006. He joined the board's staff in 1979 as a senior financial analyst. Cole was appointed to the Board's official staff in 1988 and was promoted to associate director in 1997 and senior associate director in 2001 ...


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