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Inside Washington (07/23/2008)
*WASHINGTON (7/24/08)—The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is taking a close look at what IndyMac Federal Bank, the resultant institution created after the failure of IndyMac Bancorp, can offer a potential buyer and whether the bank should be sold as a whole or in parts. (American Banker July 23) Among the thrift’s advantages are: an established branch network, a large servicing portfolio, and a reverse mortgage business. John Bovenzi, the FDIC's chief operating officer and chief executive of IndyMac Federal, acknowledged in an interview that loans may not get full value, but added that the FDIC will assess the best way to market and try to get that value back. But the housing crisis will make it difficult for IndyMac to realize a good price because its specialty, alternative-A mortgages — including a chunk of payment-option, adjustable-rate mortgages — are fetching low prices. Yet, the FDIC is already acting to preserve the thrift’s value for a sale; it is paying competitive rates on certificates of deposit to bolster a deposit network that spans Southern California. Bovenzi also mentioned IndyMac's $185 billion servicing portfolio and its reverse mortgages subsidiary, Financial Freedom, as attractive parts of the whole. He said no decision has been made yet on whether to sell the bank as a whole or in pieces... * WASHINGTON (7/24/08)—Although a report that that the Federal Reserve Board and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were “inspecting the books” at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was slightly off the mark, those agencies are consulting with the government-sponsored enterprises' regulator. The Fed and OCC want to understand whether the companies' problems are likely to affect commercial banks; they are concerned about billions of dollars worth of GSE debt on the books of banks. The OCC acknowledged "providing support" to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight; members of the Fed staff have said they joined the OCC at OFHEO last week. And worry doesn’t stop there: The Office of Thrift Supervision requested information from thrifts in the Southeast regarding their investments in the government-sponsored enterprises. (American Banker July 23)... * WASHINGTON (7/24/08)—Interested parties have until Oct. 15 to comment on recently release Basel guidelines on calculating risk of assets that are losing value but not actually going into default. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision released guidelines this week. They have been in development since July 2005, but in March international regulators began to make adjustments in acknowledgement of market turmoil. A document released by those regulators said the committee decided to expand the scope of the capital charge to better capture both prices changes attributable to defaults, as well as other sources of price risk. Those other sources of risk were defined as such things as credit migrations and significant changes in credit spreads and equity prices. The 12 largest banks in the U.S. are required to start implementing some provisions of Basel II this year. (American Banker July 23)…


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