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Inside Washington (11/17/2010)
* WASHINGTON (11/18/10)--Leading Republican legislators want to remove unemployment from the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of price stability and unemployment, and have asked the Fed to drop plans to buy an additional $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds. The bond purchase represents a strategy of “quantitative easing” that attempts to promote employment and keep prices stable. Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, introduced a bill that would shift the Federal Reserve from its current mandate of focusing on unemployment and price stability to instead concentrate on price stability and inflation (American Banker Nov. 17). Pence joined a group of conservative critics in claiming that pursuing quantitative easing could undermine currency standards and fuel inflation while failing to significantly impact employment. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, also endorsed redirecting the Federal Reserve’s mandate… * WASHINGTON (11/18/10)--Bigger problems than robo-signing could be disclosed by additional investigation of mortgage servicers, speakers at a Senate foreclosure hearing said. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and other senators cited specific examples of unjust foreclosure actions to support their doubts about the foreclosure practices of mortgage servicers (American Banker Nov. 17). Dodd and other Democrats called for the Financial Stability Oversight Council to examine mortgage servicing as a potential systemic threat. Consumer groups continue to claim that mortgage servicers improperly pursue many foreclosures, with protesters from the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America briefly disrupting the hearing to challenge statements made by a JPMorgan Chase Home Lending official. Iowa Attorney General Thomas Miller testified that state attorneys general have found other issues in addition to robo-signing but refused to provide details, citing an ongoing investigation. Republican senators also criticized the foreclosure process and noted that regulators failed to detect problems … * WASHINGTON (11/18/10)--The Federal Reserve Board has requested comment on a proposed rule dealing with the period of time allowed for banking firms to bring their activities into compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker Rule. The Volcker Rule prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading in securities, derivatives or certain other financial instruments, as well as from investing in, sponsoring or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund. Banking firms have two years to bring their activities into compliance with the Volcker Rule, although the board is allowed to extend this conformance period for specified periods under certain conditions, a Federal Reserve release said. The Dodd-Frank Act calls for the board to issue rules to implement the conformance period. Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted within 45 days of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur soon …


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