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Inside Washington (03/27/2008)
* WASHINGTON (3/28/08)—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has named William Haas deputy comptroller for midsize bank supervision Haas has been assistant deputy comptroller for that division since March 2003. He started his career with the OCC in 1984 in Grand Island, Neb. and was commissioned as a National Bank Examiner in 1988. In 1994, Haas transferred to Large Bank Supervision, where he served as the commercial credit lead examiner at Norwest Corporation, and later as a member of the credit team at US Bank. He will be based in Chicago in his new position… * WASHINGTON (3/28/08)—A Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. study published in the agency’s March 20 issue of FDIC Quarterly indicated that increasing municipal deposit insurance coverage would have benefits, such as reducing a bank's need to secure municipal deposits, but also could create risks for moral hazard and raise assessments. The study also asserted that while higher coverage would increase the safety of public funds held at depository institutions and would help small banks compete for municipal deposits; it also would have a downside. Increasing the limit would, for example, conflict with traditional agency principles, such as the FDIC "does not generally advocate favoring one depositor class over another." (American Banker March 27)... * WASHINGTON (3/28/08) -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in a recent speech that the Federal Reserve Board should broaden its authority and include Wall Street investment firms in its oversight. Investment firms are now regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But former federal regulators are predicting that changes in the country’s financial system will increase the Fed’s influence at the expense of the SEC. A former SEC general counsel posited that his former agency would be so diminished that it would just be a component part of a comprehensive financial services regulator. The speculation has been prompted in part by the Fed’s action involving Bear Sterns. The Fed is taking nearly $30 billion in assets off the Bear Stearns balance sheet in an effort to encourage JPMorgan Chase & Co. to buy the firm, even though Bear Stearns's main supervisor is the SEC. ( Bloomberg.com March 27)…


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