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Inside Washington (07/20/2009)
* WASHINGTON (7/21/09)--Financial industry representatives continue to debate the feasibility of giving the Federal Reserve Board sole responsibility of systemically significant institutions. The Obama administration has expressed interest in giving the Fed this role, but critics say the central bank already has its hands full (American Banker July 20). The move also would be politically unfeasible, said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Frank once supported giving the Fed systemic risk oversight responsibility. Michael Barr, Treasury Department assistant secretary for financial institutions, said the proposal to give the Fed more oversight power only builds on the responsibilities the central bank already has. The Fed is already regulating the largest firms in the nation, so overseeing systemic risk is a “modest expansion” of that power, he said Friday. The Fed’s current responsibilities include controlling the nation’s monetary policy, and overseeing payments systems, holding companies and some state-chartered banks. If the Fed doesn’t oversee systemic risk, a new agency could be created. The agency should be independent and chaired by a presidential appointee, said William Isaac, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman ...


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