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Inside Washington (12/17/2010)
* WASHINGTON (12/20/10)--The president of the Consumers Bankers Association accused the Federal Reserve Board of price fixing in its proposal to restrict interchange fees on debit cards “Regulating interchange fees is price fixing and has no role in our free market economy. Presented as a pro-consumer provision to lower costs, the most likely result will be an increase in the cost of financial services for American consumers and the elimination of benefits and efficiencies valued by many debit card users,” CBA President Richard Hunt said in a statement. “The Fed’s proposal “will severely restrict the ability of debit card issuers to recoup their costs and earn a fair rate of return. This will have a great effect on banks of all sizes--small and large,” Hunt added. See related News Now story, “CUNA: Interchange rule confirms ‘worst fears’ about CU treatment” … * WASHINGTON (12/20/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Thursday announced the appointment of Jim Wigand as the director of the new Office of Complex Financial Institutions (CFI). Since 1997, Wigand has served as the deputy director for franchise and asset marketing in the division of resolutions and receiverships, where he oversaw the resolution of failing insured financial institutions and the sale of their assets. The CFI was created to assist the FDIC in carrying out its new responsibilities as outlined in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It is responsible for the oversight of bank holding companies with more than $100 billion in assets and non-bank financial companies designated as systemically important by the new Financial Stability Oversight Council. The CFI carries out the FDIC’s joint responsibility with the Federal Reserve Board to oversee resolution plans for large bank and nonbank institutions. The CFI also is charged with implementing the FDIC's new authority for the orderly liquidations of bank holding companies and non-bank financial companies that fail … * WASHINGTON (12/20/10)--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Friday released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011. Millions of workers will see their take-home pay rise during 2011 because the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a two percentage-point payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2% to 4.2% of wages paid. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits. The new law also maintains the income-tax rates that have been in effect in recent years. Employers should start using the new withholding tables and reducing the amount of Social Security tax withheld as soon as possible in 2011 but not later than Jan. 31, said the IRS. Notice 1036, released Friday, contains the percentage method income tax withholding tables, the lower Social Security withholding rate, and related information that most employers need to implement these changes. For Notice 1036, use the link ...


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