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Inside Washington (09/17/2008)
* WASHINGTON (9/18/08)—Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to keep the Senate in “pro forma” session for the rest of the year so that body can respond if market conditions demand it (American Banker Sept. 17). Dodd said at a press conference that he wants the ability to reconvene his committee as events unfold. He also wants to be able to call before his committee members of the administration and “others” to examine what options should be pursued as market conditions develop. Dodd’s request was reported in an article that questioned whether the rapidly evolving financial crisis may result in structural solutions rather than just crisis management by the Bush administration…. * WASHINGTON (9/18/08)--The Treasury Department is launching a multi-media campaign to teach 18-24 year-olds already in debt or about to get into unmanageable debt about their spending habits. The campaign will feature public service announcements with the tagline, “Don’t let your credit put you in a bad place.” Television spots, radio spots, web banners and a new website will also be used. Some radio spots and a version of the website will be in Spanish ... * WASHINGTON (9/18/08)--To revive a slow mergers and acquisitions market, regulators are proposing to allow acquirers to count goodwill toward Tier 1 capital requirements (American Banker Sept. 17). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board have sent out a proposal on the change with a 30-day comment period. If the change is approved, it could trigger dealmakers and help acquirers by “lowering the barrier,” according to Carol Larson, senior client partner at Deloitte and Touche. Under current Financial Accounting Standards Board rules, acquirers have to accept writedowns if a seller’s assets are less than the purchase price. In 2001, the banking industry expressed its concerns that goodwill in Tier 1 capital is not included. It has continually pushed for a change ... * WASHINGTON (9/18/08)--The Treasury Department announced Wednesday a temporary Supplementary Financial Program at the Federal Reserve’s request. The program will consist of Treasury bills, separate from the current borrowing program, and will provide cash for Federal Reserve initiatives. It will be governed by existing Treasury auction rules ... * WASHINGTON (9/18/08)--Congress is looking into creating an agency that would buy bad debt from troubled companies (The New York Times Sept. 17). On Tuesday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said it would make more sense for a new agency, rather than the central bank, to tackle the debt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supported the idea. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House majority leader, said there isn’t enough time for Congress to consider new proposals in two weeks. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said he wondered if the Fed and Treasury were already functioning to handle the bad debt and whether a new agency was needed. However, Dodd noted that he wasn’t opposed to the idea ...


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