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Inside Washington (03/25/2009)
* WASHINGTON (3/26/09)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested giving more power to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to regulate systemic risk during a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday. The regulator does not have to be the same agency with resolution powers, he added. The Treasury and Fed both submitted proposals to create authority over struggling banks for systemically significant holding companies. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is drafting a bill to give the government resolution powers, but did not provide specifics on his legislation at the hearing (American Banker March 25). Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to testify today before the Financial Services Committee and observers anticipate that the Obama administration will release more details on a plan to regulate systemic risk ... * WASHINGTON (3/26/09)--The role of CEO over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continues to change, and some observers say the position may be irrelevant. James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), currently serves as conservator over the two enterprises. Fannie CEO Herbert Allison said he controls Fannie’s operations but he views FHFA as the controlling shareholder (American Banker March 25). Lockhart said his agency cannot run the enterprises itself. The CEO’s power will likely center on administrative tasks, according to Bert Ely, consultant in Alexandria, Va. A CEO is needed to run the enterprises, but the role is different than what it used to be--and that may make things simpler, added Brian Gardner, analyst for Keefe, Bruyette and Woods ... * WASHINGTON (3/26/09)--The Senate has confirmed Gov. Gary Locke of Washington as secretary of the Commerce Department. The Senate approved the nomination with a voice vote. President Barack Obama’s first two nominees--Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson--withdrew (The New York Times March 25) ...

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