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Inside Washington (07/27/2009)
* WASHINGTON (7/28/09)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the central bank’s actions during the economic crisis at a town hall meeting Sunday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Bernanke also expressed support for Congress to pass legislation that would create a bankruptcy process for big financial firms (American Banker July 27). He criticized the proposed consumer protection agency under President Barack Obama’s regulatory reform plan, saying that the Fed and other agencies would have their oversight powers taken away. Jim Lehrer of PBS, who moderated the town hall, asked Bernanke if he supported the agency. Bernanke said he neither favored nor opposed it. Bernanke’s term as Fed chief is set to expire in January, and it is not known if Obama will nominate him for a second term ... * WASHINGTON (7/28/09)--Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Financial Services Committee Friday that he thinks the Obama administration “got it right” in creating the proposed regulatory reform plan. Under the plan, the Federal Reserve Board would receive systemic risk oversight, and banking regulators would be stripped of their consumer protection oversight in favor of a new agency. Those ideas have been heavily criticized by the financial industry. Several hearing participants, including Reps. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) raised concerns about consumer protection examinations and stripping bank regulators of consumer protection powers, but Geither did not back down. Geithner said he understood the consumers that had been raised, but was confident that the plan had struck “the right balance” (American Banker July 27) ... * WASHINGTON (7/28/09)--The Federal Reserve Board has begun a study of household finances to update data collected at the outset of the economic downturn in late 2007. The 2009 Survey of Consumer Finances will attempt to re-interview 4,422 participants from the 2007 study. It aims to gather a detailed picture of the financial and economic problems of the past two years on households and their finances. The study will be conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. Data collection started Saturday and will continue through Dec. 31 ...


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