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Inside Washington (07/31/2009)
* WASHINGTON (8/3/09)--Savings accounts that offer prizes could boost savings in low-income households, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) panel. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said prizes linked to savings accounts would match her goal of devising innovations to spark savings. However, she said the innovations should not lure current savers away from their traditional, interest-earning deposits (Dow Jones July 31). Prize-linked savings accounts would allow depositors to become eligible for winning prizes instead of earning interest when they deposit their money. At the panel’s meeting Thursday, Harvard professor Peter Tufano said a “no-lose” lottery ticket could be used to spur savings. An individual could buy the ticket and turn it in at any time to reclaim its full value. The lottery product could be framed as a savings product, he said ... * WASHINGTON (8/3/09)--Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director James Lockhart does not recommend permitting the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB) to securitize mortgages. The banks can continue to use MPF Xtra and other programs for mortgage purchases instead, he said in a report to Congress. Securitization could be permitted after the future of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHLB System is determined by FHFA, Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (American Banker July 31). The process should be completed in February, Lockhart said. Representatives from the 12 Home Loan banks said Lockhart’s decision, would restrain the program and limit what they can do with mortgage programs. Mortgages were once viewed as key to the FHLB system, but without being able to securitize, some banks--such as the Chicago FHLB--have stopped making purchases ... * WASHINGTON (8/3/09)--A House panel is planning to look into pay practices at banks receiving government bailout money. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will have a hearing in August with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, attorney Kenneth Feinberg and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who chairs the panel. The hearing comes as Cuomo investigates the pay practices at banks that received money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Cuomo has found that compensation for bank employees has not correlated with their financial performance (American Banker July 31). Employees were paid well, even when the banks were bailed out, Cuomo said ...


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