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Washington
Inside Washington (07/15/2008)
* WASHINGTON (7/16/08)—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, said the country’s current economic situation poses “significant challenges” for Fed policymakers attempting to keep the economy growing, while avoiding a dangerous inflation flare up. The Fed chief warned that rising energy and food prices are increasing inflation risks at a time when officials try to cope with persistent strains in financial markets, loss of jobs and problems in the housing industry. Bernanke was later joined before the banking panel by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox. They were summoned to detail a rescue plan announced over the weekend intended to bolster Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Bush administration plan asks Congress to temporarily increase lines of credit to Fannie and Freddie. It also would allow the government to buy their stock. (Associated Press July 15)… * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--A premium increase could hit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) in September if the IndyMac failure lowers the Deposit Insurance Fund’s reserve ratio to 1.01% as expected (American Banker July 15). FDIC will be required to rebuild the fund if it drops below $1.15 per each $100 of insured deposits. The premiums could cost the FDIC up to 15 cents per $100 of domestic deposits, said Jaret Seiberg, Stanford Group Co. analyst. The failure could cost the Deposit Insurance Fund $4 billion to $8 billion. The IndyMac failure is the second largest in history, asset-wise ... * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced Monday that it will stall foreclosures on $15 billion of loans on IndyMac’s books, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said (American Banker July 15). Bair said she’d like to look at the loans to see if they can be modified. The loans are worth 7.5% of the thrift’s servicing portfolio ... * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--Legislators are pushing to create a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after the Treasury Department moved to backstop the enterprises late last week. The House is expected to vote on the bill this week and it could be approved next week (American Banker July 15). Though Republicans have earned enough votes in the Senate to block the measure, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is viewed as having more leverage in passing the legislation because the Treasury added changes to the bill and problems surrounding Fannie and Freddie continue to grow. The House is expected to accept the Treasury’s changes and allow the Federal Reserve Board to take on a regulatory role for the enterprises. Frank said he wants to stall the enactment date for a new regulator and instead raise the enterprises’ conforming loan limits. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the committee, opposes both moves ... * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--The federal banking and thrift agencies today issued final guidance outlining the supervisory review process for banking organizations implementing Basel II. The final guidance aims to help banking organizations meet certain qualification requirements in the advanced approaches rule, which took effect April 1 ... * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Vice Chairman Rodney Hood announced Tuesday that registration for his 2008 Risk Mitigation Summit in Chicago Aug. 7 is full. Registrants may be placed on a wait list ... * WASHINGTON (7/16/08)--The Federal Reserve Board approved amendments to Appendix A of Regulation CC, which reflects the restructuring of the Federal Reserve’s check processing operations in the First and Third Districts. Appendix A provides a routing number guide that helps depository institutions determine the maximum permissible hold periods for most deposited checks. As of Sept. 20, the Windsor Locks office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston no longer will process checks, and banks served by the office will be reassigned to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia ...


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