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Inside Washington (03/30/2010)
* WASHINGTON (3/31/10)--Credit unions may want to let their business members know that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is warning small businesses to use caution if they are contacted by firms offering to help them apply for funds available through SBA programs. The SBA and Office of Inspector General have received several complaints from businesses about abusive marketing practices, scams, and exorbitant fees charged by firms offering to help them obtain a loan, grant or other federal funds. When using a third party to apply for SBA funding, businesses should remember they can get free assistance from SBA’s district offices and website, SBA said. They also should ask for references and confer with trusted colleagues when selecting service providers, and should establish and document what they are being charged, when they will be charged, what they must do and what services they will receive. The SBA Office of the Inspector General will investigate and respond to all complaints ... * WASHINGTON (3/31/10)--Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair said Monday she supports charging big banks a fee to pay for future takeovers of systemically significant institutions (American Banker March 30). The House passed a financial reform package to create a resolution account of $200 billion. Bair said the account is not a “bailout fund”--but rather a taxpayer protection plan. A prefunded system also would be more “predictable” than assessing banks a fee after the takeover ... * WASHINGTON (3/31/10)--Banking industry representatives argue that creating a consumer protection agency could result in rules that conflict with safety and soundness standards, but some regulators said that such conflicts are rare (American Banker March 30). Brad Sabel, former New York Federal Reserve Bank official, said he did not recall a case where consumer protection regulations posed threats to institutions’ safety and soundness. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan also noted in a recent speech that such conflicts would be rare. Bankers have argued that the agency could write rules, like forcing broad loan modicfications, that could lead to risky bank practices and more lending to uncreditworthy borrowers. However, reform bills in the House and Senate directs the consumer agency to consult with the primary financial regulator prior to writing a rule, and to allow plenty of time for public comments before finalizing a plan...


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