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Inside Washington (12/15/2008)
* WASHINGTON (12/16/08)--Though lawmakers are pushing the Treasury Department to track how banks are using Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, doing so may be difficult, industry representatives say. Bankers can’t identify exactly where the money is spent because it’s applied to their balance sheets, said William Longbrake, Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle director (American Banker Dec. 15). Last week, the House approved an amendment to an auto bailout bill that would require banking companies to report changes in lending. The bill has since died in Congress, but some representatives say lawmakers will continue to push bankers to detail their TARP funds use next year ... * WASHINGTON (12/16/08)--Bankers in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) debt guarantee program will be allowed to change their applications after roughly 500 institutions say they signed up for the program’s advanced version under the impression that its benefits were free (American Banker Dec. 15). In addition to the 500 thrifts, holding companies and banks, the agency is contacting 300 others to let them know they can participate in the standard program without extra charges. The guarantee program was launched in October to help credit markets. It charges 50 to 100 basis points for coverage of senior unsecured debt. The advanced program covers newly issued debt up to three years ... * WASHINGTON (12/16/08)--The Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded four small business development centers in Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada and New York Small Business Sustainability Initiative Grants totaling $500,000 to fund projects offering energy efficiency assistance to small businesses. The centers include: The New York Small Business Development Center at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Albany; The Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno; The Nebraska Small Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska, Omaha; and The Idaho Small Business Development Center at Boise State University, Boise. The grant winners proposed programs that provide education, training, energy efficiency audits, information about adoption of energy efficiency and energy conservation practices, and help with purchasing and installing energy efficient building fixtures and equipment, the SBA said ...


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