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Inside Washington (04/16/2008)
* WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--Policymakers are moving ahead with plans to help the student loan market (American Banker April 16). A proposal by the Senate and House Education Committees, which would require the Education Department to loan money to students in the secondary market by buying Federal Family Education Loan Program loans, is set for a vote today. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this week that the department should work with state governors to back loans. On Wednesday, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) called on the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board to add liquidity to the market ... * WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--The Treasury Department has released its best practices for hedge fund participants. The best practices for asset managers call on hedge funds to adopt comprehensive best practices in all aspects of business--including critical areas of disclosure, valuation of assets, risk management, business operations, compliance and conflicts of interest. The best practices for investors include a Fiduciary’s Guide and an Investor’s guide. The Fiduciary’s Guide provides recommendations to individuals charged with evaluating the appropriateness of hedge funds as a component of an investment portfolio. The Investor’s Guide provides recommendations to those who execute and administer a hedge fund program once it is added to the investment portfolio. Both will be open for 60-day comment periods ... * WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is aiming to increase the use of covered bonds by providing investors with access to assets from a failed financial institution within 10 days in some situations. Although covered bonds are widely used internationally, a U.S. law requires a 90-day delay before creditors can collect assets from failed institutions--which keeps away some investors (American Banker April 16). The FDIC’s action is immediate, but it is open to a 60-day comment period. Covered bonds applicable for the waiver can not be more than 4% of an institution’s liabilities ... * WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--Though they’ve made improvements, government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still a supervisory concern, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) said Tuesday. The enterprises worry OFHEO because of increased mortgage market and credit risk, the agency said. However, OFHEO commended the two for making improvements and filing their 2007 annual statements on time. OFHEO Director James Lockhart said Fannie and Freddie committed to work on GSE reform legislation, and “the time to act on the legislation is now” ... * WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--States cannot tax the money businesses earn from investments in other states, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The ruling reversed a decision made by the Appellate Court of Illinois, which upheld that the state could tax money Ohio-based MeadWestVaco Corp. made from Illinois-based Lexis-Nexis. MeadWestVaco argued that the state did not have the right to tax its earnings, and sued for a refund of the $4 million it paid in taxes. Justices referenced a 1992 opinion that led some states to conclude they could tax liabilities “generated by assets that served an operational rather than an investment function” (The New York Times April 16). The opinion, however, was not intended to give states new grounds to tax businesses, said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. ... * WASHINGTON (4/17/08)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s Annual Report for 2007 has been released ...


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