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Inside Washington (03/18/2010)
* WASHINGTON (3/19/10)--The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) says it sees some flaws in Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd’s (D-Conn.) financial reform bill. The bill intended to define how state consumer protection laws would be applied to national banks--but the OCC said it would be more difficult for a national bank to ignore a state law that the bank thinks interferes with business. It also would be easier for state attorneys to file class action suit against federal banks, said American Banker (March 18). Requirements in the Senate bill also could change the preemption process, OCC said. National banks currently can decide not to follow a state law, pending review from a court or regulator. The Senate bill would not allow a bank to do that without a decision from a court or the OCC, and the process that banks would have to go through to get clearance to ignore a rule could take months or years, the Banker said ... * WASHINGTON (3/19/10)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke rejected a proposed bill that would strip the Fed of its powers except over the nation’s largest banks (American Banker March 18). Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has proposed giving the Fed oversight only of holding companies with $50 billion or more in assets. Bernanke said oversight of smaller banks is vital for financial system stability and monetary policy. Paul Volcker, former Fed chairman, supported Bernanke. He said that the Fed needs to have oversight of banks and that setting a $50 billion-asset threshold could widen the problem of “too big to fail” ... * WASHINGTON (3/19/10)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINcen) has issued a $110 million civil money penalty against Wachovia Bank, N.A., Charlotte, N.C. According to FINcen’s penalty agreement, Wachovia failed to implement adequate measures to detect and report money laundering involving at least 13 of its non-bank correspondent accounts. Such measures would have enabled Wachovia to obtain due diligence information on customers of the foreign non-bank entity and determine whether related transactions conducted in the U.S. were commensurate with the customers’ normal or expected conduct, or lacked any apparent business or lawful purpose, FINcen said ...

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