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Inside Washington (02/04/2008)
* WASHINGTON (2/5/08)--Basel II will be effective April 1, but the 12 largest financial institutions in the U.S. may need six months or more to comply with it. The final rule for Basel II states that financial institutions must submit their compliance plans to regulators by Oct. 1, but they can implement the plans as late as April 1, 2011 (American Banker Feb. 4). During the interim, the institutions must have four consecutive quarters of Basel I compliance but calculate Basel II levels. Gil Schwartz, a former Federal Reserve Board lawyer, said he didn’t think financial institutions would face too many barriers to implement Basel II. Rob Strand, a senior economist at the American Bankers Association, said risk managers are busy. If banks implement Basel II during a rough patch, capital requirements would increase, he added ... * WASHINGTON (2/5/08)--The California Reinvestment Coalition, the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project and the New Jersey Citizen Action are objecting to the sale of Countrywide Financial Corp. by Bank of America. The consumer groups have asked the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee to hold congressional hearings on the matter. The groups stated that Countrywide’s business practices have contributed to many of its borrowers facing foreclosure and they are concerned that Bank of America has not released a plan to ensure that efforts will be made to keep borrowers in their homes ... * WASHINGTON (2/5/08)--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended Sarbanes-Oxley compliance for one year so it can conduct a cost-benefit study of Section 404. The study will consist of a Web-based survey and in-depth interviews, and is expected to be complete later this year. Section 404 requires company management to assess the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls over financial reporting ...


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