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Inside Washington (02/22/2008)
* WASHINGTON (2/25/08)--The Center for American Progress is urging lawmakers to improve credit card transparency by implementing a credit card safety rating system and mandating a higher level of fairness in credit card terms. The center released a report Thursday indicating that credit card debt grew as the mortgage crisis surged to unprecedented levels in the U.S. and in the global financial marketplace. The problems could be “partially nipped in the bud” by legislation to improve transparency for credit cards, the group stated. The report cited efforts by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), who introduced the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act. Last December, an average of 7.6% of credit card loans were at least 60 days delinquent or had gone into default, up from 6.4% a year earlier, the report said ... * WASHINGTON (2/25/08)--The Federal Housing Finance Board Wednesday approved an amendment to increase the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Seattle’s stock purchase requirement to 6% (American Banker Feb. 22). The increase aims to help the bank with its capital management. FHLB suffered losses when its mortgage program went under ... * WASHINGTON (2/25/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) could eliminate a three-month delay placed on creditors collecting bonds from failed banks (American Banker Feb. 22). The delay aims to help the FDIC examine the bank’s assets, but some have argued that it keeps U.S. banks from a fertile market. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said if the barrier is removed, it could increase the agency’s costs to resolve failed institutions. Bonds should not be rushed, she added. Bair indicated that she would be open to removing the barrier on a “measured basis” ... * WASHINGTON (2/25/08)—The Small Business Administration (SBA) will host its second national regulatory fairness hearing here on March 12. The event is designed to give leaders from business organizations and trade associations an opportunity to comment on unfair or excessive federal regulatory enforcement that impacts their members and small businesses nationwide. The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 created the Office of the National Ombudsman within the SBA and established 10 regional regulatory fairness boards nationwide. Each year a series of public regulatory fairness hearings is held around the country. For more information, parties interested in the hearings may contact Christina Marinos, of the ombudsmen’s office, at christina.marinos@sba.gov , or by phone at 202-401-8254 …


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