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Inside Washington (11/03/2011)
  • WASHINGTON (11/4/11)--Members of a House Financial Services Committee subcommittee questioned the governance structure and regulatory efforts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a hearing on Wednesday (American Banker Nov. 3). Grilling Raj Date, the special advisor to the Treasury secretary on the CFPB, Republicans called for a board or commission to lead the bureau in place of a single director.  Democrats, led by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) disputed the notion that the bureau is not subject to congressional oversight, pointing out that the hearing was the second held by the Financial Services oversight subcommittee. Some Republicans also expressed concern that the agency place increased an regulatory burden on community banks in their districts, though they had nothing to do with subprime lending and other practices that led to the financial crisis …
  • WASHINGTON (11/4/11)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s (FDIC) role in the bank failures is larger than the agency would like to admit, according to observers (American Banker Nov. 3). The FDIC's role in bank closings was brought into the spotlight by the Federal Reserve's historic decision to close the $1.38 billion asset Community Banks of Colorado last month. It was the first time the Federal Reserve ever closed a bank, and the FDIC was closely tied to the decision-making process. Though banks are nearly always shut down by the state regulator or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, depending on their charters, the FDIC has a "material influence" on the decision, according to John Bley, formerly Washington state's chief bank regulator and now chair of the financial institutions group Foster Pepper. In the case of Community Banks of Colorado, the state's banking regulator sought to give the bank more time to sell branches to raise cash. However, the Federal Reserve Board, the bank's primary federal regulator, and the FDIC agreed that the deal would only delay the failure and make it more costly in the long run. The Fed overruled the state, closing a bank for the first time ever. When a deal is in the works to raise capital, investors typically first turn to regulators to determine if the arrangement is acceptable, according to Jeffrey Taft, a partner with Mayer Brown LLP.  If the regulators aren't satisfied, the financial institutions do not attempt to go forward, Brown said …
  • WASHINGTON (11/7/11)--The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Treasury Department released the October edition of their "Housing Scorecard." The latest housing data reflected the turmoil that continues in housing markets. The scorecard reported mixed signals: new home sales rose compared to August, but were still slightly down from the prior year; and mortgage defaults and foreclosure sales continued a downward trend, but foreclosure completions ticked slightly upward in September after months of decline …


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