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Inside Washington (06/11/2010)
* WASHINGTON (6/14/10)--For those interested in witnessing the opening salvos of the House and Senate conferees during their first meeting to hammer out a final financial regulatory reform package, C-Span’s coverage of the day’s events is available online. The conferees next meet tomorrow, June 15, and again on June 16 and 17. C-Span will continue to broadcast the proceedings live. Last Thursday’s event consisted largely of opening statements that were, pretty consistently, divided along party lines, focusing mainly on the perceived causes of the financial crisis. However, a few hours in, credit union observers may have been gratified to hear the opening round fired against an amendment currently in the Senate reform package that would require the Federal Reserve to intervene in setting interchange fees. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), state leagues and credit unions have been engaged in a herculean push to inform federal lawmakers of the dangers posed to consumers and to credit unions by that interchange provision. About 1,000 credit union advocates traveled by plane, train, bus and car last week to participate in CUNA’s Hike the Hill effort on interchange. So far, abou 450,000 have made contact with lawmakers via email or phone calls. On Thursday, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y) was first to broach the subject, saying that the “hastily” added provision was crippling for credit unions, community banks and the country’s poor… * WASHINGTON (6/14/10)--The House passed a bill Thursday that aims to help the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) boost its capital reserves by charging borrowers a higher annual premium (American Banker June 11). FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has experienced loan losses that have drained its capital ratio to 0.53%, below the minimum 2% standard. The bill was authored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee’s housing subcommittee. The bill will allow FHA to increase its annual premium up to 1.55% from 0.55%. However, FHA said it would not raise the premium immediately. Instead, the agency will charge an annual rate of 0.90% for borrowers who make a downpayment of 5% or less, and 0.85% for borrowers with larger downpayments. The premium changes will generate $4.1 billion for 2011, FHA estimated ... * WASHINGTON (6/14/10)--Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said Friday that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has requested that Kohn remain on the board until a new governor is appointed. Kohn will leave no later than Sept. 1. Kohn said in March he intended to resign when his term was up on June 23. While he remains on the board as a governor, he will continue to participate in all board and Federal Open Market Committee meetings ...


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