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Inside Washington (06/30/2011)
* WASHINGTON (7/1/11)--Calling prepaid access products “the fastest growing area within the payments sector,” the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) issed guidance Wednesday supporting national banks’ participation in prepaid programs. The OCC stressed the importance of consumers understanding the products and their associated costs. OCC also cited potential risks to financial institutions, including fraud and money laundering. “To limit potential risks to banks and consumers, however, national banks should implement comprehensive risk management programs that provide appropriate oversight and controls commensurate with the risk, complexity of the activities, and use of any third-party providers to facilitate the prepaid programs,” the guidance said … * WASHINGTON (7/1/11)--Financial firms continued to vie for position in the swaps marketplace in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Act during a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing on securities, insurance and investment. Dodd-Frank established swap execution facilities, similar to the exchanges where securities are traded, in an effort to create more transparent pricing and reduce systemic risk in derivative markets where trades were previously made over the counter (American Banker June 30). About 40 firms will apply to become swaps execution trading facilities, according to testimony at the hearing. But market participants said they expect the market to consolidate to 15 or 20 firms within two years. Jurisdiction of swaps regulation is split between two agencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will regulate security-based swaps. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will have authority over other swaps. The hope among lawmakers is that the SEC and CFTC will synchronize their rules, according to the Banker


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