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Inside Washington (02/25/2009)
* WASHINGTON (2/26/09)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael E. Fryzel encouraged credit unions to participate in America Saves Week--which ends Sunday--as a way to improve consumer saving and stress the importance of financial literacy. "I look at this initiative as one that demonstrates the credit union philosophy," he said. "A proactive focus on the members and aiding them in basic financial decision-making is central to America Saves Week. It also has an obvious connection to NCUA and industry efforts to promote improved financial literacy as a way to help members make informed decisions," he added. NCUA posted new savings resources on a Financial Education Page on its website. The section features links to government and non-profit sites listing information on saving for a number of goals ... * WASHINGTON (2/26/09)--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Wednesday that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home before Dec. 1 this year can claim the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year. Qualifying taxpayers can get up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married filing separately. IRS has posted a revised version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit on IRS.gov. For more information, use the link ... * WASHINGTON (2/26/09)--House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and more than a dozen other committee Democrats have asked a bank that received Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to give back the government funds it spent hosting a PGA Tour event for clients. In a letter to the $68.9 billion asset, Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp.'s president/CEO, Frederick H. Waddell, the legislators expressed anger and dismay about the spending and urged the bank to "take corrective action." The letter said the behavior "demonstrates extraordinary levels of irresponsibility and arrogance." The bank said the tournament is part of a five-year contract signed in 2007 and is a business decision regarding an annual event ot show appreciation for clients (American Banker Feb. 25) … * WASHINGTON (2/26/09)--Mortgage bankers say they want the Obama administration's housing plan expanded so more struggling borrowers can refinance their loans. Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President John Courson sent a letter Monday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan asking that the plan include mortgages not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as those exceeding the temporary conforming limit of $729,750 in certain more costly areas. MBA also suggested increasing or eliminating the plan's 105% cap on loan-to-value ratios and requested it include a "safe-harbor" provision to protect servicers that modify loans from lawsuits by investors. It recommended encouraging the Financial Accounting Standards Board to suspend temporarily accounting charges for securitizations that may affect bank capital (American Banker Feb. 25) … * WASHINGTON (2/26/09)--Three credit union CEOs from York, Pa., met Monday with U.S. Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) and assistant Bob Reilly to discuss the interchange issue and mortgage cramdown legislation (Life is a Highway Feb. 24). Dave Baker, CEO of York Educational FCU; Dennis Flickinger, CEO of First Capital FCU and president of the York Chapter; and Brad Warner, CEO of White Rose CU, also discussed the National Credit Union Administration's Corporate Stabilization Program. The congressman indicated an interest in learning more about the plan. He plans to attend the next chapter meeting, where the plan will be discussed …


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