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Inside Washington (05/20/2009)
* WASHINGTON (5/21/09)--The Federal Reserve Board could respond the week of June 8 to bankers’ requests to repay Troubled Asset Relief Program funds (American Banker May 20). Regulators intend to make announcements each month on requests from the nation’s 19 biggest banks on repayments. Because of discussions on the approval procedures, it may be about three weeks before Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase and Co. receive answers to their applications to refund $45 billion of government funds ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/09)--Legacy assets will be included in the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), the Federal Reserve Board said Tuesday. It also said it expanded the number of rating companies that can rate assets for TALF (American Banker May 20). The inclusion of older securities was determined after investors were disappointed with a May 1 announcement that TALF only would include new commercial mortgage-backed securities. Investors will have until late July to apply for loans to buy commercial mortgage-backed securities ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/09)--The nation’s largest banks have bolstered their balance sheets by $56 billion since financial stress tests were unveiled several weeks ago, said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He testified before the Senate Banking Committee this week in Washington. About $48 billion of the funds comes from the 10 banks that needed to boost their capital levels, he said (The New York Times May 21). Geithner also said there are indications that the financial system is starting to “heal.” The lending markets are stabilizing and interest rates that businesses pay to raise money from bond buyers have fallen. Geithner also updated the committee on the $700 billion government bailout fund. Less than $100 billion fund remains. The government anticipates receiving $25 billion in repayments, he said ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/09)--Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro does not support a plan proposed by President Barack Obama to create a new financial watchdog. The watchdog would reduce SEC’s powers and damage investors’ government protection, she said (The Associated Press May 20). The Obama administration is expected to release details about its plan in the next few weeks as it attempts to reform the nation’s financial regulatory system. Some industry groups have already said they oppose the plan. Earlier this year, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill that would create a commission to oversee consumer products. Elizabeth Warren, who oversees the Congressional Oversight Panel, also supports a commission approach. Creating a commission could involve the combining of several federal agencies and their powers ... * WASHINGTON (5/21/09)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was awarded with a Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting (CEAR) for its 2008 Performance and Accountability Report. The report combined information from the former Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the former Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) and the FHFA. The agency was one of 17 to receive the award from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). The FHFA, which supplanted OFHEO and the FHFB, was created July 30 under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 ...


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