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Inside Washington (06/24/2009)
* WASHINGTON (6/25/09)--The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies Wednesday proposed a change to their rules that implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a revision that would require the agencies to consider low-cost education loans provided to low-income borrowers when assessing a financial institution’s record of meeting community credit needs. The proposal was issued jointly by the Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of Thrift Supervision. It incorporates provisions of the recently enacted Higher Education Opportunity Act, which revised the CRA. The agencies will accept comment for 30 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register… * WASHINGTON (6/25/09)--President Barack Obama commended Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for doing a “fine job” responding to the nation’s economic crisis (Dow Jones June 24.) Obama said Tuesday that the Fed is well-suited for oversight of systemic financial risks. However, the president declined to comment on whether he would reappoint Bernanke as chairman. Financial industry observers have speculated on Bernanke’s future at the Fed due to its handling of the financial crisis ... * WASHINGTON (6/25/09)--A plan by the Obama administration to revamp the nation’s financial regulatory system is being questioned by financial industry observers based on whether the plan would resolve the problem of financial institutions being slated as “too big to fail” (American Banker June 24). Observers say that tougher standards for companies perceived as “too large to fail” should be implemented now as opposed to after the reform bill is enacted. Regulators need to be held accountable, and if the wording is “too vague it’s very hard to hold them accountable,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Under President Barack Obama’s plan, financial regulators would decide which institutions are Tier 1 financial holding companies and would also set capital, leverage and liquidity requirements ...


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