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Inside Washington (02/22/2010)
* WASHINGTON (2/23/10)--Noting Monday's effective date of new rules under the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, signed into law by last spring, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday the implementation of protections is a “critical step forward” in efforts “to protect American families by prohibiting the use of unfair retroactive rate hikes and late fee and over-limit fee traps by credit card companies.” He said the administration will “continue to work on strengthening consumer protections and disclosure for a wide array of financial products.” Geithner noted that work includes efforts to consolidate “the fragmented authority of seven separate agencies” into a single, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency … * WASHINGTON (2/23/10)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Member Michael Fryzel (pictured) commended defense credit union representatives for their leadership in the industry and their service to members, and stressed that more needs to be done during a speech at the Defense Credit Union Council’s Defense Issues Meeting in Washington, D.C. Fryzel emphasized continued commitment and involvement for credit unions. “When you put your shoulder to wheel, good things happen. The industry expects this of you, and I look forward to your continued assistance and involvement.” He also urged attendees to talk with their senators and representatives during the financial crisis to “give fresh energy to those who work here and take fresh energy home with you to do the best job you possibly can.” (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Administration) … * WASHINGTON (2/23/10)--The future of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs) may be held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to financial observers. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to meet March 2 to talk about the enterprises’ futures and the housing market. Lawmakers’ conclusions on the matters will likely have significant implications for the FHLBs--including their regulator and what they will do with remaining debt. The FHLBs have suffered losses because of problems with private-label mortgage-backed securities, and the system lost $165 million in the third quarter, said American Banker (Feb. 22) ... * WASHINGTON (2/23/10)--On Friday, President Barack Obama announced a program that would place $1.5 billion into states so they can help unemployed, second-lien or underwater borrowers. The administration will move the money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to housing finance agencies in five states that have experienced a drop in home prices of 20% on average (American Banker Feb. 22). Treasury will need to approve the programs, but then the agencies will determine how the funds will be used in their markets …

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