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Inside Washington (09/21/2009)
* WASHINGTON (9/22/09)--Bank of America could face questions from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding some legal conversations that took place when BofA merged with Merrill Lynch. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to the bank Friday, saying that it can’t use attorney-client privileges to keep the conversations private from Congress (The New York Times Sept. 21). Towns gave BofA until noon Monday to provide him with the information, but the bank responded and asked to move the deadline until after today. Towns’ spokesperson said he would stick to the deadline. If BofA reveals the information, it will affect other investigations of the BofA and Merrill Lynch deal by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Andrew Cuomo, New York attorney general ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/09)--Maine credit unions recently met with their federal delegates in Washington, D.C., during the Maine Credit Union League’s annual Hike the Hill trip Sept. 15-16. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) told the group that “credit unions are great for Maine and their members.” Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) and Maine Reps. Mike Michaud (D) and Chellie Pingree (D) made similar statements. Michaud said he appreciated what credit unions do and applauded them for providing credit when many banks are not. “I am a big believer in helping increase access to credit, and it seems to me that credit unions would be a great way to help small businesses because they have plenty of money to lend, which would be wonderful for the marketplace,” Pingree said. Pictured are: Michaud, left, who shook hands with Normand R. Dubreuil, president/CEO of Maine State CU, prior to meeting with credit union representatives at the Hill visit. Also present were: Oxford FCU’s Matt Kaubris, president/CEO; Pete Theriault, associate board member; Richard Bilodeau, board member at Rainbow FCU and Dan Daggett, vice president at Down East CU. (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League) ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/09)--The Federal Reserve Board has said no to a request by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a public review of the Fed’s structure and governance (Bloomberg.com Sept. 21). Fed officials saw a threat to the central bank’s independence from such a review. Lawmakers also have requested reviews of the Fed’s structure after some said Fed Chair Ben Bernanke overstepped bounds when he bailed out American International Group Inc. and Bear Stearns. The Fed has said it is conducting reviews of its structure. Fed. Gov. Elizabeth Duke said she is working on an internal study of roles of each director on the boards at regional Fed banks ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/09)--Sheila Bair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) chair, said that the agency is considering some other options instead of charging banks another special assessment fee. Lawmakers had urged the agency not to charge more fees. Bair said the agency will release a proposal with ways that the Deposit Insurance Fund can be replenished (American Banker Sept. 21). Some of the options the agency is considering include issuing debt to the financial industry, requiring institutions to prepay next year’s assessment, or tapping into a line of credit at the Treasury Department. Many media outlets have reported that the Deposit Insurance Fund is nearly broke ... * WASHINGTON (9/22/09)--Federal Reserve Board discount window borrowing is on the decline, following improvements in financial conditions, the Fed said Friday (American Banker Sept. 21). During four weeks ended Aug. 26, lending was split 50-50 at the lending window. The top 10 borrowers took $130 billion and the 355 institutions that borrowed less took another $130. The central bank held $540 billion in collateral ...


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