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Inside Washington (09/16/2009)
* WASHINGTON (9/17/09)--Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), in a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair, urged the agency not to impose another special assessment fee on the banking industry. The FDIC should use its credit line--recently expanded by the Treasury Department--instead of charging more fees to community banks. Community banks’ capital would be depleted if they had to pay more fees. They also didn’t cause the economic crisis, Levin said (American Banker Sept. 16). In May, the FDIC said it would charge another special premium in addition to its normal assessments because its reserves are declining. Bair told CNBC Tuesday that that she could not say if the agency would ask Treasury for assistance ... * WASHINGTON (9/17/09)--Regulators are expected to release data that indicate a record number of syndicated loans have experienced a drop in credit quality. Classified loans--which are viewed as substandard--have tripled over the past year to 15.5% of the total syndicated loan portfolio (American Banker Sept. 16). Almost a quarter--22.3%--of the industry’s syndicated business loans is termed “criticized,” compared with 13.4% last year. In 1991, at the top of the savings and loan crisis, the proportion of criticized loans hit 16%. Kathy Murphy, chief accountant at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said the picture is not expected to brighten, and there are still problems that need to be worked through ... * WASHINGTON (9/17/09)--The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday that it will implement a consumer compliance supervision program in nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies and foreign banking organizations with activities covered by the consumer protection laws and regulations it has the authority to enforce. The policy, announced today and effective immediately, also provides for the investigation of consumer complaints against nonbank entities. It builds upon the groundwork of a pilot program launched in 2007 by the Federal Trade Commission, Office of Thrift Supervision and two associations of state regulators. It is designed to improve the Federal Reserve's understanding of the consumer compliance risk that certain products and services may pose to the holding companies and consumers, and to guide supervisory activity for these entities, the Fed said ...


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