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Inside Washington (07/14/2009)
* WASHINGTON (7/15/09)—The House Financial Services Committee released its witness list for today’s hearing to address “Banking Industry Perspectives on the Obama Administration’s Financial Regulatory Reform Proposals.” The hearing is one in an ongoing series of examinations of issues and perspectives being held in advance of congressional action on the administration’s plan to revamp financial services regulation. Those scheduled to testify: Steve Bartlett, president/CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable; John Courson, president/CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association; Chris Stinebert, president/CEO of the American Financial Services Association; Steven Zeisel, vice president and senior counsel of the Consumer Bankers Association; Todd Zywicki, George Mason University Foundation professor of law and senior scholar, Mercatus Center; Denise Leonard, vice president of government affairs, National Association of Mortgage Brokers; Edward Yingling, president/CEO of the American Bankers Association; and Michael Menzies, Sr., president/CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Company, on behalf of Independent Community Bankers of America. CUNA has submitted a letter for the written hearing record… * WASHINGTON (7/15/09)—An unnamed administration official told Reuters that policymakers are pondering what can be done to help stave off foreclosures for jobless homeowners who are falling behind on their payments. The July 14 article noted that the number of failing home loans has been climbing for three years as property values have declined and the unemployment rate has soared. Such a government program to help the unemployed, the source said, would be in alignment with other administration measures to help jobless Americans struggling through the recession. However, the plan—still definitively in the construction stage—presents policy challenges and possible pitfalls. One hazard could be setting up an environment that distorts the housing market and works against its recovery… * WASHINGTON ( 7/15/09)— The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched an effort to bolster its enforcement efforts, better protect investors, and assure market integrity—actions mostly in response to the current financial crisis and the biggest case of investment fraud in U.S. history for which Bernard Madoff has received a 150-year prison sentence. The SEC was widely criticized for its failure to detect Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme despite the existence of warning signs that were around, critics say, for many years. New SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has said the agency has strengthened and accelerated its enforcement efforts and installed a new enforcement director. The SEC has also recently acted to restrict short-selling in down markets, strengthened its mutual fund oversight, shored up scrutiny of investment advisers, and eased the process for shareholders to seat directors on company boards. (Associated Press July 14) Related to Ponzi schemes, named after the legendary swindler Charles Ponzi and within which investors are defrauded to repay earlier investors, reported the following yesterday: Madoff was moved to the same U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta that Ponzi spent some time…


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