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Inside Washington (01/26/2010)
* WASHINGTON (1/27/10)--President Barack Obama will deliver the State of the Union address tonight, and his speech is expected to be of significant interest to the banking industry, according to financial observers. Obama may use his speech to garner support for his proposed tax on big banks, said Brian Gardner, KBW Inc. analyst. In addition to the tax, Obama last week proposed to ban proprietary trading and curb growth of large financial institutions. Obama also could use his speech to convince the Senate to reappoint Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Board chairman, said Chris Whalen, managing director at Lord, Whalen LLC. Bernanke’s nomination is expected to generate one of the closest votes in history for the re-election of a Fed chairman. Camden Fine, president/CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, told American Banker (Jan. 26) that he hopes Obama will announce programs to help financial institutions provide credit to small businesses ... * WASHINGTON (1/27/10)--The Treasury Department will spend the next couple weeks drafting legislation that will be shared with lawmakers working on financial reform, according to Neal Wolin, department deputy secretary. The legislation aims to control companies’ growth by restricting financial firms from owning hedge funds and participating in proprietary trading (American Banker Jan. 26). It will attempt to constrain growth by acquisition as opposed to organic growth, Wolin said. Commercial banks that do not accept consumer deposits and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are not subject to restrictions, but they will be subject to more aggressive supervision, he added ... * WASHINGTON (1/27/10)--Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to testify today before a House committee on oversight and government reform as part of an investigation regarding allegations that American International Group (AIG) improperly limited disclosures while it was being bailed out by the government (MarketWatch Jan. 26). Geithner was president of the New York Fed when the bailout took place. The bank has said Geithner was not involved with AIG’s discussions regarding the disclosures. Thomas Baxter, the New York Fed’s general counsel, is also slated to testify ...


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