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Washington
Senate moves steps closer to financial reform
WASHINGTON (4/22/10)--The Senate Agriculture Committee's Wednesday passage of "The Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010" was "another step towards (sic) comprehensive financial reform," U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said. The derivatives legislation, which had support from both Republican and Democratic committee members, would, according to a committee statement, prohibit the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from using federal funds to bail out Wall Street firms that "engage in risky derivative deals." The legislation will also require banks that take part in swaps transactions to "spin off their swap dealer desks." These banks would be "barred from receiving any federal assistance" if they failed to do so. The bill will also create "mandatory clearing and trading requirements" and ensure that all derivatives trades are reported in "real-time," the statement added. In a statement following the committee action, Geithner said that the Treasury would work with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) "to craft strong derivatives provisions that close loopholes, provide necessary transparency, and reduce threats to financial stability as part of a final, comprehensive financial reform bill." Debate on the Senate version of that comprehensive reform bill is expected to begin this week and could continue into next week. The bill language was filed yesterday by the Senate Banking Committee, which means lawmakers can now proceed with a vote on the motion to proceed with the bill, perhaps as early as today. The legislation, which was introduced by Dodd last month, would allow the Federal Reserve to continue to oversee both large banks and smaller state-chartered banks while also adding authority over some non-bank financial firms to the Fed's list of responsibilities. The Credit Union National Association has expressed some concern over portions of the legislation that address remittances and that limit the National Credit Union Administration's examination authority to credit unions with under $10 billion in assets.
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