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Inside Washington (07/12/2011)
* WASHINGTON (7/13/11)--Although his overall assessment of the law bearing his name was positive a year after its implementation, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) assailed critics of the Dodd-Frank Act during a National Press Club luncheon Monday. Frank targeted those seeking to ease risk retention rules, saying he favored a broad exemption from risk-retention proposed by regulators in March, but was against making the exception a rule. Dodd-Frank requires financial institutions to retain 5% of the credit risk of securitized mortgages, but allows regulators to exempt qualified residential mortgages (QRM) (American Banker July 12). Regulators have been criticized for their definition of a QRM, which would be limited to loans with a 20% down payment and low debt-to-income ratio. Critics say that standard would be out of reach for lower-income borrowers. CUNA and others, including a bipartisan group of lawmakers, have criticized a proposal to require a 20% down payment for a loan to be defined as a QRM, saying that this change would shut out responsible homebuyers and further cripple the housing market. Frank indicated he was frustrated with the failure of Senate Republicans to confirm qualified nominees for key regulatory posts. On a positive note, the U.S. has led the world in regulating financial markets, including the new system mandated by Dodd-Frank to put large financial firms that fail into receivership, he said … * WASHINGTON (7/13/11)--Longtime credit union backer Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Tuesday announced that he will not contest his House seat in 2012, instead electing to focus on his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Paul currently chairs the House Financial Services domestic monetary policy subcommittee and was a cosponsor of legislation that would have delayed implementation of the Federal Reserve’s rule to implement a statutory cap on debit interchange fees. He has also supported the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act and maintaining the credit union tax exemption… * WASHINGTON (7/13/11)--While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be limited without a director when it officially opens for business July 21, the agency will be free to examine and take action against banks with more than $10 billion of assets, while their nonbank competitors will not be subject to oversight (American Banker July 12). The Obama administration appointed Elizabeth Warren as a special advisor to the Treasury secretary to help organize the new bureau. But the White House has not nominated a permanent director. The Dodd-Frank Act allows the bureau to perform certain functions without a director after July 21, according to a report from the inspectors general of the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. The bureau has the authority to prescribe rules, issue orders and produce guidance on consumer financial laws previously enforced by other bank regulators. It also can carry out functions and enforce laws previously enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While those powers grant the CFPB scrutiny over banks, the inspectors general said the CFPB could not take on newly established bureau authorities until a director is appointed …


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