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Inside Washington (07/07/2009)
* WASHINGTON (7/8/09)--Arguments in favor of keeping the thrift charter may be losing their strength as some financial observers question whether the thrift is needed. The Obama administration has proposed eliminating the charter and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) as a part of its financial regulatory reform plan. Some lawmakers, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), are against removing the charter and OTS. The charter has been abused, but it would be a mistake to abolish it altogether, Frank said (American Banker July 7). One argument for keeping the charter involves creating a charter focused solely on real estate lending. Such a charter could benefit consumers by ensuring that thrifts provide home mortgages and other consumer lending services, said John Bowman, OTS acting director. If the charter is kept, there could be wider interstate branching and more preemption powers. But both of those arguments for keeping the charter are losing steam, observers say ... * WASHINGTON (7/8/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Monday released a frequently-asked-questions document to explain swept fund rules. A sweep account involves the pre-arranged transfer of funds from a deposit account to an investment vehicle located outside the depository institution or another account or investment vehicle located within the depository institution. On Jan. 27, the FDIC finalized its rule “Processing of Deposit Accounts in the Event of an Insured Depository Institution Failure.” In addition to establishing practices for determining deposit and other account balances at a failed depository institution, the rule includes disclosure requirements for certain sweep accounts, effective July 1. According to the document, institutions must prominently disclose in writing to sweep account customers whether their swept funds are deposits within the meaning, FDIC said ... * WASHINGTON (7/8/09)--The House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee announced a hearing scheduled for Monday, titled, “Preventing Unfair Trading by Government Officials,” but withdrew that announcement by days end. The hearing is expected to be resceduled, but no date has been set. The session is likely to focus on H.R. 682, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, introduced by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Brian Baird (D-Wash.). A recent report by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s inspector general on alleged inappropriate trading also will be discussed...

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