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Inside Washington (08/11/2009)
* WASHINGTON (8/12/09)--Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Banking Committee, declared a victory after American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services said they would eliminate overlimit fees, or fees charged to cardholders who exceed their credit limits (American Banker Aug. 11). Dodd continues to support the creation of a consumer protection agency, which has been proposed by the Obama administration. Dodd also has said the Fed should require consumers to opt in for overdraft protection to keep them from being charged fees ... * WASHINGTON (8/12/09)--The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is considering using mark-to-market accounting as the default method for valuing financial instruments. Financial observers say the rule, if approved, would provide investors with a better perspective on companies’ financial health while simplifying accounting rules (American Banker Aug. 11). The proposal would also help define when companies should use mark-to-market accounting to value their assets. Many banking groups oppose the FASB proposal, saying that companies should not have to absorb the dropping values of loans they have no intention of selling. In April, FASB adopted rule changes on mark-to-market accounting and on treatment of other-than-temporary-impairment of assets. The Credit Union National Association said the action was a positive development and would help credit unions and financial institutions with some market issues. However, it noted that FASB could have done more (News Now April 3) ... * WASHINGTON (8/12/09)--Esther H. Vassar has been appointed national ombudsman and assistant administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness for the Small Business Administration (SBA) by SBA Administrator Karen Mills. Vassar previously served as a commissioner and chair of Virginia’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board. In her role at the SBA, she will help small businesses that experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or excessive fines and other actions ... * WASHINGTON (8/12/09)--Yolanda Garcia Olivarez was appointed regional administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) for Region VI, which is headquartered in Dallas. The region includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Olivarez has worked in trade, commerce and financial services industries for 35 years. Since 1995, she has been a senior vice president/commercial lender and business development officer at Wells Fargo ...


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