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Inside Washington (07/26/2011)
* WASHINGTON (7/27/11)--In its merger with the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)--mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act--the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has inherited the unfamiliar job of handling a lawsuit involving the closing of United Western Bank, a thrift it never regulated. United Western Bank filed suit against regulators in February, claiming the OTS was wrong to seize it and asking the judge for reinstatement (American Banker July 26). United Western alleged the OTS and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the thrift before giving it enough time to recover. In June, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled the suit against the OTS--now the OCC--could proceed. Jackson granted the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s request to exit the case, but allowed the United Western to pursue its claims against OTS, because a statute specifically allows a bank to challenge the OTS director’s decision to appoint a receiver in the District Court. The outcome of the case could determine if similar suits will follow. Thomas Vartanian, a partner at Dechert LLP, speculated that the OCC, while not the party accused of any wrongdoing, would pursue the case based on principle … * WASHINGTON (7/27/11)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Tuesday issued its final rule amending Bank Secrecy Act regulations on prepaid access. The rule puts in place suspicious activity reporting, and customer and transactional information collection requirements on providers and sellers of certain types of prepaid access similar to other categories of money service businesses. Under the final ruled “stored value” has been renamed as “prepaid access.” The rule adopts a targeted approach to regulating sellers of prepaid access products, focusing on the sale of prepaid access products with features or values that pose heightened money laundering risks. Products of $1,000 or less and payroll products that can’t be used internationally, do not permit transfers among users and cannot be reloaded from a non-depository source are exempted from the rule. Closed-loop, prepaid-access products sold in amounts of $2,000 or less are also exempted. The rule excludes government funded and pre-tax flexible spending for health and dependent care funded prepaid access programs …


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