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Inside Washington (11/19/2010)
* WASHINGTON (11/22/10)--Bankers want regulators to create a long list of exceptions to the Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker Rule, which restricts banks’ ability to participate in some types of investments and other risky activities. Comment letters sent to regulators seek exceptions that would expand banks’ ability to invest in private-equity firms and hedge funds, alter the definition of proprietary trading to give banks more freedom in making investments, and expand the list of “permissible activities” for banks (American Banker Nov. 19). Several lawmakers joined Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Board chairman, in calling for the development of clear rules that provide concise definitions and specific guidance to prevent ambiguity and make it easier to enforce the laws. But banking industry leaders and other lawmakers are seeking plentiful exemptions and broad definitions to give more latitude to financial institutions … * WASHINGTON (11/22/10)--Regulators were the target of strongly-worded criticism from both sides of the political aisle at a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing that examined flaws in the foreclosure process. Several legislators noted that regulators were unaware of the practice of “robo-signing” and other failings in the foreclosure process until the media disclosed the issues, even in situations where problems were previously identified by mortgage servicers’ internal controls. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said mortgage servicers are unlikely to view regulatory consequences as a serious threat because regulators have consistently failed to both identify problems and levy fines when problems occur (American Banker Nov. 19). The hearing also explored consumers’ inability to reach mortgage servicers to discuss issues or negotiate mortgage modifications … * WASHINGTON (11/22/10)--George Madison, general counsel for the Treasury Department, said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) can issue rules, release studies and gather feedback even though a permanent director has yet to be appointed (American Banker and The Boston Globe Nov. 19). Madison told the audience at a public policy luncheon sponsored by Women in Housing and Finance that the agency might go out for comment on proposed rules before existing federal agencies transfer their authority to the new agency on July 21, 2011. Elizabeth Warren is responsible for launching the CFPB in her role as assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury. The banking industry has been a vocal critic of the potential scope of the CFPB’s authority and has opposed Warren’s role in shaping the new agency. To date, President Obama has not nominated a CFPB director … * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/22/10)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued the following notice on Friday: “Due to unforeseen technical issues, the invoice payments for your capitalization deposit adjustment and share insurance premium that were originally scheduled for ACH withdrawal on Monday, November 22nd, will be withdrawn from credit union accounts today, Friday November 19th. This will affect credit unions with invoice amounts due to NCUA that use Pay.Gov for ACH payments. If your institution pays by check, this will not affect your institution. We apologize for this last minute change. In addition, refunds will be paid as scheduled today.” …


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