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Inside Washington (08/12/2011)
* WASHINGTON (8/15/11)--The House financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee will meet in Georgia next week to ask community bankers and regulators if federal bank examination standards have become too stringent. The hearing in Newnan, Ga., will include testimony from three bankers--Chuck Copeland, CEO of First National Bank of Griffin; Jim Edwards, CEO of United Bank; and Gary Fox, former CEO of Barton County Bank, based in Cartersville, Ga., which failed in April (American BankerAug. 12). Also scheduled are witnesses from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve Board, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. “With a struggling economy and high unemployment, small businesses and small-town banks need some relief from the growing regulatory burdens that block the creation of new jobs,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). “We cannot allow regulatory micromanagement of community banks to stifle prudent lending. Bank examiners must recognize the risks of over-regulation, and particularly avoid subjecting smaller financial institutions to undue regulatory burdens” … * WASHINGTON (8/15/11)--Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB) are seeking an exemption from proposed risk-retention rules. About eight of the 12 banks in the FHLB system purchase mortgages from member banks, thrifts and credit unions (American Banker Aug. 12). The mortgages require credit enhancements, which are included in their purchase price. On average, the credit enhancement is similar to a 2%- to 3%-risk-retention requirement, the banks say. A proposed federal rule could include a 5% risk-retention requirement on the loans that the banks hold in portfolio and other underwriting restrictions on down payments and debt-to-income ratios. The FHLBs claim the additional retention requirements would make their loans too expensive, while the underwriting requirements will reduce their demand …

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