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Inside Washington (05/31/2010)
* WASHINGTON (6/1/10)--The battle over preemption continues as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and banking industry representatives back the Senate version of the regulatory reform bill, saying it more explicitly restores the Barnett standard. State regulators and consumer groups support the House provision, which they said is more flexible and would require the OCC to take additional steps before preempting a law, said American Banker (May 28). Under the Barnett standard, the OCC can preempt state laws on a case-by-case basis. The House version said the OCC can preempt a law if it prevents, interferes with or impairs banking. The House version also would require OCC to prove that a federal law already exists that addresses the issue the state law is trying to address. The OCC and bankers said if the Senate version were adopted, they would have a better chance of winning court battles on preemption. The two versions also differ in how much power they give state attorneys general. The House bill would allow state attorneys general to enforce any federal law against national banks, while the Senate bill would only allow states to enforce federal rules from a new consumer protection regulator. It also limits attorneys general’s actions to their own states ... * WASHINGTON (6/1/10)--The Obama administration is focused on several provisions within the regulatory reform bill: ensuring the Volcker rule is part of the final bill, subjecting retail brokers to a fiduciary duty and preventing auto dealers from being exempted from consumer protection (American Banker May 28). Neal Wolin, Treasury deputy secretary, said the administration will work to ensure the Volcker rule’s ban on proprietary trading is in the final bill. The administration also wants to maintain safeguards to prevent resolution authority from being used unless necessary. However, he avoided taking a position on a provision of the Senate bill by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (R-Ark.) that would force banks to divest their swap desks ...

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