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Inside Washington (05/11/2011)
* WASHINGTON (5/12/11)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said Tuesday, said he would not negotiate with Republicans over changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (American Banker May 11). Forty-four GOP senators signed a letter last week vowing to block the nomination of the CFPB director unless changes are made to the agency’s structure. Republicans demanded that the CFPB’s director be replaced with a board, that the bureau be subject to an appropriations process, and that banking regulators have power to override the CFPB. Johnson said the demands were too steep and said the President Obama should make the final decision on the bureau’s structure … * WASHINGTON (5/12/11)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) board will seek comment on new capital and margin requirements for retail futures and options in the foreign exchange (forex) market falling below a certain threshold (American Banker May 11). The measure would affect the retail market for futures and options--those involving individuals with less than $10 million invested, or less than $5 million in certain cases. Banks participating in retail Forex transactions would have to advertise that the transactions are not covered by FDIC insurance. An institution would require a customer to post a margin of 2% for major currencies such as the dollar and 5% for other currencies. The measure wouldn’t apply to foreign currency forwards or spot transactions that banks engage in with business customers to hedge foreign exchange risk. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said while the proposal wouldn’t affect many banks at the current time, it is meant to provide a regulatory framework should more banks enter the market in the future … * WASHINGTON (5/12/11)--Eliminating a set asset value to make the money market industry more stable during times of stress was among the topics addressed during a Securities and Exchange Commission Roundtable discussion Tuesday. But some market observers felt such fears were overstated (American Banker May 11). John Hawke, a partner at Arnold & Porter and former Comptroller of the Currency, said money market funds have been successful on a historical basis, and are not susceptible to fluctuations during good and bad markets. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair noted the Reserve Primary Fund fell below to below a dollar per share, nearly causing investors to redeem their holdings. To stop the run, the government initiated a program that would restore a covered fund’s net asset value if it fell below a dollar. Hawke said re-engineering the money market fund industry could have unintended consequences …


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