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Inside Washington (07/01/2008)
* WASHINGTON (7/2/08)--Financial institutions have responded to changes proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to broaden exemptions to currency transaction report (CTR) requirements. Bankers have criticized FinCEN’s proposed changes, saying they do not save time or effort in the cumbersome filings. Bank of America files the most CTRs--more than 2 million last year. The bank used FinCEN’s exemptions 3,650 times. (American Banker July 1). The Credit Union National Association recommends that FinCEN should review the $10,000 threshold for filing a CTR and adjust it for inflation and allow financial institutions make a good-faith, case-by-case determination of whether an otherwise eligible member frequently engaged in currency transactions of more than $10,000 when designating a Phase II exemption ... * WASHINGTON (7/2/08)—Information on making home loans to low- and moderate-income households will be the focus next week in two Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) events. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, JP Morgan Chase and Co. chief executive James Dimon, and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the forum on mortgage lending. Topics are to include such things as reintroducing standard loan underwriting and pricing in the low-income mortgage market. Also on the agenda, discussion about profitable approaches to lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers, and how community-building can help foster homeownership. (American Banker July 1). The next day, the agency’s advisory committee on economic inclusion is expected to undergo similar discussion. The committee comprises consumer advocates, bankers and federal officials ... * WASHINGTON (7/2/08)--The Federal Reserve Board sent the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a letter June 13, arguing that the two should consult with each other to revise a rule on mortgage disclosures (American Banker July 1). HUD should align its plan with the Fed’s update of Truth in Lending Act regulations, the letter said. HUD is required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to update its disclosures ... * WASHINGTON (7/2/08)--Those affected by flooding have increased benefits, including access to loans of up to $14,000 without collateral, and a $500,000 increase in the disaster loan cap to businesses, said Jovita Carranza, acting administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, during a tour of Iowa yesterday. The changes were recently signed into law under the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvement Act of the 2008 Farm Bill and were implemented by the SBA this week. The disaster loan cap increased to $2 million from $1.5 million, and the 20% mitigation measure formula has changed from total loan eligibility to total loss eligibility, she said. “Midwest residents whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged by severe flooding will have enhanced support,” she said. “I encourage disaster victims to use resources and counseling to help them through this difficult time” ...


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