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Inside Washington (02/28/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (2/29/12)--Foreign institutions, and in some cases their governments, have protested that the U.S. is stepping outside of its jurisdiction in implementing a ban on bank proprietary trading. The so-called Volcker Rule--named for former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who first proposed the trading ban--is part of the Dodd Frank Act. "The proposed rule appears to extend well beyond U.S.-insured depository institutions and imposes significant restrictions on Canadian banking entities by limiting their use of U.S.-based resources, personnel and market infrastructure and by preventing them from trading with U.S. counterparties," Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada and chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said in a letter to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. Other countries, including France, Germany, Mexico and Japan, share concerns that the rule could unintentionally harm liquidity, widen spreads and increase volatility at foreign institutions. They also argue that U.S. treasury bonds are treated more favorably than foreign debt under the rule …
  • WASHINGTON (2/29/12)--The Federal Reserve Board on Monday released action plans for its regulated banks to correct deficiencies in residential mortgage-loan servicing and foreclosure processing. The Fed also released engagement letters between supervised financial institutions and independent consultants retained by the firms to review foreclosures that were in process in 2009 and 2010. The action plans are required by formal enforcement actions issued by the Fed last year. The enforcement actions direct mortgage loan servicers to submit plans that describe how the institutions will: strengthen communications with borrowers by providing the name of a primary point of contact at the servicer; establish limits on foreclosures where loan modifications have been approved; establish robust, third-party vendor controls; and strengthen compliance programs …

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