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Inside Washington (05/05/2008)
* WASHINGTON (5/6/08)--The credit card industry’s increasing complexity urged regulators to create rules that define deceptive and unfair card practices, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said (American Banker May 5). The Fed Friday proposed a plan that would protect cardholders from unexpected rate increases on pre-existing card balances. The rules are open for public comment under the Federal Trade Commission Act. Because the rules could potentially increase the cost of credit to consumers, the comment period for the proposal is important, said Donald Kohn, Fed vice chairman ... * WASHINGTON (5/6/08)--The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service have created a new task force to investigate mortgages made without solid proof of borrowers’ earnings or assets, a government official said Sunday (The New York Times May 5). The task force also will investigate how brokers and mortgage lenders handled low- and no-documentation loans, and how loans were packaged into securities. The agencies’ original task force, created in January, recently expanded its investigation after information regarding write-downs from bad mortgages began to surface. The group has investigated lending practices of 14 unnamed mortgage companies. In March, the FBI and Justice Department began investigating Countrywide Financial Corp. for financial misrepresentation ... * WASHINGTON (5/6/08)—U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and Charles Schwab, chairman of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, announced the appointment of several key council officers Monday, including Ted Beck as head of the Committee on Outreach. Beck is CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)—the Credit Union National Association’s eight-year partner in financial literacy efforts. Monday’s meeting was the second for the 20-member President’s Council, whose mission is to focus exclusively on economic empowerment issues. Also named to leadership positions were: Tahira Hira, Committee on Financial Education Research; John Bryant, Committee on Underserved Populations; Janet Parker, Committee on Financial Education in the Workplace; and Laura Levine, Committee on Financial Education for Youth. Schwab said of the appointments, "The council's new liaison to the commission will help maintain open lines of communication between the private sector and the federal government, and ensure that the two panels are working together toward a common goal."…


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