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Inside Washington (12/17/2008)
* WASHINGTON (12/18/08)—Credit unions can still register for a a Dec. 22 Credit Union National Association audio call titled "SBA Lending For Credit Unions: Opportunities and Challenges in the Current Economic Environment." Among the speakers participating in the call will be Frank Kressman, staff attorney with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Grady Hedgespeth, SBA's Director of Financial Assistance, and Nicholas Owens, National Ombudsman and Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness at the SBA, who will moderate the program. The agency experts will also discuss NCUA's member business lending requirements and how they impact SBA lending… * ALEXANDRIA, Va. (12/18/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has made an archived version of its Dec. 16 audio call on CU HARP and CU SIP available online. The call-in session, co-hosted by the NCUA, Credit Union National Association and National Association of Federal Credit Unions, reiterated the details of the two programs—one to help troubled borrowers keep their homes, the other to shore up the liquidity of the corporate credit unions. It also underscored some important upcoming deadlines for credit unions interested in participating. CU HARP stands for the Credit Union Homeowners Affordability Relief Program. CU SIP stands for the Credit Union System Investment Program… * WASHINGTON (12/18/08)--The Federal Reserve Board announced Tuesday restructuring changes of check processing operations in the Sixth and Eighth Districts. As of Feb. 21, 2009, the head office of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis no longer will process commercial checks, and banks currently served by that office will be reassigned to the head office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. As a result of these changes, some checks deposited in the affected regions that currently are non local checks will become local checks that are subject to shorter permissible hold periods ... * WASHINGTON (12/18/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) began prepping Tuesday for more bank failures by increasing its 2009 budget 84% to $2.24 billion. During the third quarter, the Deposit Insurance Fund decreased by 23.5% to $34.6 billion due to bank failures. The FDIC also approved a staffing level for 2009 of 6,269--an increase of 1,459 from the beginning of this year. The agency also issued two final rules: one that would permit a banking organization to reduce the amount of goodwill it must deduct from tier 1 capital by any associated deferred tax liability, and another to require troubled insured depository institutions to provide details to the FDIC regarding adequate position level documentation of the counterparty relationships of the failed institutions ... * WASHINGTON (12/18/08)--Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services subcommittee, is calling servicers to help her constituents avoid foreclosure (American Banker Dec. 17). Waters and her staff have helped seven borrowers so far, and are working on 30 more cases. Their constituents must sign a waiver to allow her office to deal with servicers. She has designated one full-time staff member to help constituents get loan modifications and gets involved personally when the foreclosure date is near. Waters supports Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair’s loan modification plan, and has criticized the Treasury Department for failing to adopt it ... * WASHINGTON (12/18/08)-The Center for Responsible Lending, in a report published Tuesday, urged regulators and the Federal Reserve to do more to help protect consumers against abusive credit card practices. The center’s research indicated that only 3% of Americans understand the difference between teaser rates and rates on purchases and cash advances; one out of every 10 credit card balances carry a penalty interest rate the cardholder doesn’t understand; and penalty pricing and payment allocation hike interest rates, making borrowing most costly for consumers ...


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