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Inside Washington (06/23/2010)
* WASHINGTON (6/24/10)--The Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program has said the Obama administration’s efforts to slow foreclosures have not been effective. A report released Monday by Treasury indicates that 350,000 homeowners received a permanent loan modification, but another 430,000 were removed from the Home Affordable Modification Program (American Banker June 23). Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who testified before the panel, defended the program, arguing that homeowners were eliminated from the program because they could not verify their income. Initially, Treasury allowed trial modifications with little or no income verification but later changed that policy, Banker said ... * WASHINGTON (6/24/10)--House and Senate conferees of the regulatory reform bill were expected Tuesday to approve language to make it tougher for federal regulators to pre-empt state consumer protection laws, but did not tackle the issue, said American Banker (June 23). Financial observers expected Senate conferees to agree to language noting that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) can only pre-empt state laws that interfere with banking. The Senate offer countered language House conferees sought, which would have forced the OCC to prove that a federal standard already existed before pre-empting a state law. At the end of the conference, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) rejected the House language and left the issue hanging ... * WASHINGTON (6/24/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) adopted a final rule that extends the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program for six months, from July 1 through Dec. 31. Under TAG, customers of participating insured depository institutions are provided full coverage on qualifying transaction accounts. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said that while the program “has proven to be critical to ensuring our financial system’s stability, it was established as a temporary program. Ultimately, it should be up to Congress to determine our insurance limits. Adoption of this final rule allows the opportunity for Congress to conclude its current deliberations relative to this program.” The rule--almost identical to an interim rule adopted on April 13--requires that interest rates on qualifying negotiable order withdrawal accounts offered by banks in the program can be reduced to 0.25% from 0.5%. It requires TAG assessment reporting based on average daily account balances but makes no changes to the assessment rates for participating institutions. It also provides for another extension for a period of time not to exceed Dec. 31, 2011 ...


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