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Inside Washington (03/12/2010)
* WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--The Obama administration has picked Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, to serve as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, succeeding Donald Kohn, who will step down when his four-year term expires in June. To fill the others slots on the board, the administration has selected Peter A. Diamond, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, Maryland commissioner of financial regulation (The New York Times March 12). Yellen, 63, previously chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisers and was a member of the Fed Board of Governors during the Clinton administration. She has a Ph.D in economics from Yale and has taught in the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley since 1980. Yellen also wrote “The Fabulous Decade: Macroeconomics Lessons from the 1990s,” with former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder. Yellen declined comment to The New York Times about the offer ... * WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--Legislation that would end private lenders’ role in government-guaranteed student lending is sparking debate. Six Democratic senators object to including the bill in a healthcare reform package because they say the move would not save the government as much money as originally estimated--$67 billion over 10 years, compared with the earlier estimate of $87 billion (American Banker March 12). The bill’s sponsors continue to move forward. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a key sponsor, said the government has subsidized banks and wasted taxpayer money for too long. Last year, the House approved a bill to end the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which lets lenders offer student loans through partial government guarantees. Senate leaders packaged it with healthcare reform to generate support ... * WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--David Stevens, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commissioner, defended FHA’s plans to boost capital reserves without down payment increases. Increasing down payments would have negative effects on the broader housing market, Stevens said (American Banker March 12). The FHA wants to increase the up-front premium for the majority of borrowers by 50 basis points to 225 basis points of the loan amount. The hike would be effective in April. Stevens said raising the down payments would generate $500 million for the agency, while the basis point raise would generate $5.8 billion ... * WASHINGTON (3/15/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) approved an extension of the Safe Harbor Protection for Treatment by the FDIC as conservator or receiver in the failure at an insured depository institution in connection with a securitization or participation. The safe harbor protection prevents FDIC from seizing the assets. Under the safe harbor, all securitizations or participations in process through Sept. 30 are permanently grandfathered. “We will continue to seek broad agreement on securitization reforms that can be implemented by all the regulatory agencies,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair ...


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