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Agencies seek comment on flood insurance guidance

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WASHINGTON (7/22/09)—The National Credit Union Administration, along with the federal bank and thrift regulators and the Farm Credit System, released revised information in the form of questions and answers regarding flood insurance. The agencies are seeking comment on several of the newly posed questions, such as one addressing the determination of insurable value in calculating a maximum limit of coverage available for particular types of property. The regulators also want input on a question and answer about the timing of force placement of required flood insurance by lenders. After considering public comment, the agencies said in a joint release, they intend to incorporate comments into the “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance (2009).” The new document will supersede the 1997 interagency questions and answers document and supplements other guidance or interpretations issued by the agencies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced a bill earlier this month to extend authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through March 31, 2010. Without legislative action, the program will expire at the end of September. Use the resource link below to read the comment request published in the Federal Register.

CFPA markup delayed until Sept. Frank says

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WASHINGTON (7/22/09)--House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Tuesday announced that further consideration of legislation that would establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) will be delayed until after the upcoming August congressional recess. Frank had previously stated that his committee would begin marking up CFPA legislation in July, adding that his group would draft and approve a bill in committee before the August recess. There was some speculation that the CFPA legislation could be marked up as early as this week, as Frank’s committee tentatively scheduled a full committee markup session for this Thursday. Congress will officially begin its summer district work period on Aug. 3, and will return on Sept. 4. The CFPA legislation, which would seek to protect consumers of financial products through the creation of a powerful independent agency with extensive rulemaking, oversight, and enforcement tools, was introduced by the Obama administration last month. Frank also recently introduced a bill that would enact the Obama CFPA plan. However, Frank’s bill, H.R. 3126, departs from the Obama plan by preserving the current federal banking regulators' role of enforcers. Frank’s bill would also postpone consideration of the proposed merger of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) into a prudential regulator, the National Bank Supervisory (NBS), until a later date. Frank has scheduled a number of general regulatory reform hearings throughout this month and those dates have not been changed.

NCUA names new Region 2 acting director

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (7/22/09)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) earlier this month named Marcia Sarrazin as Acting Director for Region 2, which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Alaska. Sarrazin most recently served as Associate Regional Director of Region 3, which covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands. The Region 2 office, which, like the NCUA, is located in Alexandria, Va., was formerly lead by Larry Blankenberger. Blankenberger was made acting regional director of Region 2 in March of this year after a stint as association regional director for Region 4.

Inside Washington (07/21/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (7/22/09)--Financial industry lobbyists are pushing to limit the powers of a proposed consumer protection agency. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to vote on the agency next week. In the meantime, industry representatives are working to convince policymakers that the agency should not be able to examine or enforce rules against financial institutions. Preemption of state consumer protection laws and shielding lenders from legal liability are also concerns (American Banker July 21). Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), a cosponsor of the consumer protection plan, said the House Financial Services Committee will need to determine how to divide consumer protection powers among regulators, decide how rules would be enforced, determine the costs, and how to resolve conflicts. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has said he wants to pass the bill by the end of next week ... * WASHINGTON (7/22/09)--The House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee Chairman Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) announced that the subcommittee will meet today for a hearing, “TARP Oversight: Warrant Repurchases and Protecting Taxpayers.” The hearing will focus on the ongoing administration and oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and examine issues surrounding the warrant repurchasing process under TARP to ensure taxpayer money is protected. Witnesses include: Herbert Allison, assistant secretary for financial stability, U.S. Treasury; Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP; Elizabeth Warren, chair, Congressional Oversight Panel; and Thomas J. McCool, director of the Center for Economics at the Government Accountability Office ... * WASHINGTON (7/22/09)--Speaking before the Michigan Credit Union League's 75th annual convention, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chair Michael Fryzel said that the NCUA would continue as an independent regulator and added that an independent insurance fund for credit unions would remain. As reported in the Michigan Monitor (July 20), Fryzel said that the NCUA is trying to stay ahead of the Obama administration's consumer protection plans by creating its own consumer protections. Fryzel also outlined the ongoing corporate credit union situation. He commended credit unions for handling their issues without taking federal bailout money...