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Inside Washington (07/26/2012)
  •  WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Thursday announced enforcement actions against Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., for violations and compliance deficiencies related to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)., the law that provides servicemembers relief from certain obligations and temporarily suspends judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions involving civil liabilities when military service affects the servicemember's ability to meet or attend to civil matters. The OCC enforcement actions first requires the banks to improve their policies and procedures for determining whether servicemembers who request certain benefits provided by the SCRA are eligible for such benefits, ensuring that the SCRA benefits are calculated correctly, and verifying the military status of servicemembers prior to seeking or obtaining a default judgment. It also requires the banks to ensure the retention of accurate and complete records that document the basis for decisions regarding servicemembers' eligibility for SCRA benefits or protections, and to develop and implement a comprehensive SCRA training program for employees. Finally, the enforcement actions require the banks to establish" robust oversight "of and controls over their third-party vendors that provide marketing, sales, delivery, servicing, and fulfillment of services for the banks' financial products, such as credit card accounts, mortgage loans, motor vehicle finance loans, and consumer loans and lines of credit ...
  • WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--By a 327-to-98 vote, the House on Wednesday passed a bill that increases Congress' authority to audit the Federal Reserve's monetary policy. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), in effect gives Congress permission to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review decisions by the Fed about interest rates and examine discussions and policy actions undertaken by the Federal Open Market Committee (Associated Press July 27). Last week in testimony before the Housing Financial Service Committee, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke stated his opposition to the bill. Bernanke said expanded authority would create a political influence on the Fed's monetary policy decisions (News Now July 21) …
  • WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--In news that should come as a relief to bankers and loan investors, loan participation agreements will not be defined as swaps in Dodd-Frank Act-related rules issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (American Banker July 26). Defining the agreements as swaps would have required buyers to gain more information about borrowers and stagnated cash trading in loans. Under loan participation agreements, the original lender sells the rights and risks associated with a loan, but remains the lender of record. Interest paid by the borrower comes to the new investor through the original lender …

  • WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill's call for the breakup of big banks attracted widespread response in Washington on Wednesday. In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Weill suggested commercial banks and investment banks should be separated, which would essentially reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act (American Banker July 27).  Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who voted for the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, called Weill's comments "absolutely huge." Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said voting for the Glass-Steagall's repeal was among the worst votes he has made in his 18 years in Congress. Although he had not yet heard Weill's comments, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the Dodd-Frank Act provides strong disincentives against banks growing larger--primarily through tough capital requirements---and should be give longer to provide results …

  • WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--In anticipation of this November's elections, former Senate Banking Committee chair and current ranking minority member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) this week announced his intention to chip away at financial regulations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. In a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Shelby highlighted several actions he would take if the Senate returns to Republican control next year. He would work to replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's single director with a five-member board, and make that agency's funding subject to the appropriations process. He also said the U.S. housing finance system, and the government's role in housing finance, would be examined. Shelby would also work to repeal portions of Dodd-Frank that "had nothing to do with the financial crisis" ...

  • WASHINGTON (7/27/12)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), as part of its ongoing Community Bank Initiatives, announced in a Financial Institutions Letter made public Thursday that it is developing a regulatory calendar to help community banks stay up-to-date on changes in federal banking laws, regulations and supervisory guidance. The calendar highlights notices of proposed, interim and final rulemakings,  as well as supervisory guidance to financial institutions issued by the FDIC and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, other joint issuances with other regulators, and independent issuances by other regulators relevant to the FDIC's supervisory examination programs …


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