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Washington
Inside Washington (10/27/2009)
* WASHINGTON (10/28/09)—The House Financial Services Committee made the following series of announcements late Tuesday. The committee and U.S. Treasury Department released draft legislation to address the issue of systemic risk and “too big to fail” financial institutions. The draft bill would: Create a monitoring system intended to reduce the threats that systemically risky firms pose to the financial system; establish a process closing large, financially troubled nonbank financial institutions in a way minimizes impact on U.S. taxpayers and the financial system; and overhaul the country’s financial regulatory system. The committee also voted 67-1 in favor of the Private Fund Investment Advisers Registration Act of 2009 (H.R. 3818), a bill to require more financial providers to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The committee reconvenes today to continue consideration of the discussion draft of the Accountability and Transparency in Rating Agencies Act and the discussion draft of the Investor Protection Act of 2009… * WASHINGTON (10/28/09)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Michael Fryzel visited with Mark E. Easton, deputy chief financial officer for the Department of Defense, and Arty Arteaga, president/CEO of the Defense Credit Union Council, in Washington, D.C. They discussed credit unions’ products and services for military members. “Credit unions located on our military bases and at Department of Defense facilities across the globe, are dedicated to providing financial services to the millions of men and women who serve our country,” Fryzel told the group. Arteaga, Easton and Fryzel also talked about pending congressional actions on credit card issuers, returned checks and consumer protection that would affect credit unions ... * WASHINGTON (10/28/09)--The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) traveled to Washington, D.C., Oct. 21-22 to meet with its federal lawmakers. MCUA Senior Vice President of Public and Legislative Affairs Peggy Nalls, and Vice President Amy McLard followed up on several issues credit unions raised with their lawmakers in August and September. These included the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosures Act; small business lending; the proposed consumer financial protection agency; interchange fees and the Community Reinvestment Act. MCUA met with Rep. Ike Skelton (D); staff of Sens. Christopher Bond (R) and Claire McCaskill (D); U.S. Rep Russ Carnahan (D); U.S. Rep Emanuel Cleaver (D); Rep. Roy Blunt (D) and staffer Brian Diffel; U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) and staffer Chris Brown; and staffers from the offices of U.S. Reps. Todd Akin (R), William Clay (D), Jo Ann Emerson (R) and Sam Graves (R). From left are Nalls (left) and Rep. Skelton. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) ... * WASHINGTON (10/28/09)--Regulators are divided on how to boost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF). During a meeting, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said she supported requiring banks to pre-pay three years’ worth of premiums to funnel $45 billion into the fund (American Banker Oct. 27). John Dugan, comptroller of the currency, and John Bowman, acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, said it would be better if banks could pay the assessment over time. Jim Marcuccilli, president/CEO of Star Financial Bank, Fort Wayne, Ind., said the DIF should be infused by a credit line from the Treasury. Two other FDIC board members, Marty Gruenberg and Tom Curry, are expected to support the pre-pay assessment plan. Comments on it are due today ... * WASHINGTON (10/28/09)--Critics of the regulatory reform plan that would place power into one agency should be focusing on the Treasury Department instead of the Federal Reserve Board, financial observers say (American Banker Oct. 27). The Treasury could end up overseeing systemic risk, according to several proposals in Congress. Giving the Treasury a bigger role could ignite political concerns, some observers say, but others say giving Treasury a more direct role makes sense. Douglas Elliott, Brookings Institution fellow, says Treasury will always have the authority in a systemic failure because taxpayers will have to back up the failed institution. The Treasury also could have a hand in deciding which systemically risky firms go into receivership. The Obama administration has proposed giving Treasury the authority to appoint an agency to be the receiver for a systemically important institution. However, critics say that would give the Treasury too much authority. Phillip Swagel, former Treasury assistant secretary for economic policy in the Bush administration, says he disagrees with allowing Treasury to spend money without congressional approval ...


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