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Inside Washington (09/22/2011)
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* WASHINGTON (9/23/11)--The question of whether too big to fail still exists was up for debate this week, a little more than a year after the enactment of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted (American Banker Sept. 22). Moodys Investor Services provided a strong case Wednesday for those who argue the era of bailouts is over by downgrading the long-term rating of Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., and the short-term rating of Citigroup Inc. In making the downgrades Moodys cited the probability that regulators would let banks fail. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), whose namesake bill comes under constant attack for both going too far and not going far enough, had this to say about the downgrade: "I can't comment on the absolute value of Moodys ratings, but I am pleased that the rating agency recognizes that such large institutions are not too big to fail." On Tuesday at a public hearing on the pending merger of Capital One and ING Direct USA, the Independent Community Bankers of America argued regulators should block any merger that would create a firm with more than $100 billion of assets because the government were not have the ability to unwind such a large firm. The too big to fail issue also was debated during American Bankers Regulatory Symposium this week. Tom Hoenig, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said the interconnectedness that exists between large institutions and the financial system will cause any Treasury secretary to ultimately bail out troubled large firms during a financial crisis. Rodgin Cohen, a partner with the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, said new resolution powers for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and higher capital and liquidity standards have eliminated too big to fail

* WASHINGTON (9/23/11)--Phae Howard, executive director of the National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud, and Michael Mitravich of the Small Business Associations (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance will host the SBAs September web chat on Disaster Recovery for Business Owners: An Inside View at 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday. This months web chat will focus on what homeowners and businesses need to know after a disaster. Howard and Mitravich will answer questions for one hour. Web chat participants can post questions online in advance and join the live web chat through the WASHINGTON (9/23/11)--The Obama administration Thursday announced the winners of the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multi-agency competition that supports the advancement of 20 high-growth, regional industry clusters. Investments from three federal agencies and technical assistance from 13 additional agencies will promote development in areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, aerospace and clean technology, in rural and urban regions in 21 states. Projects are driven by local communities that identify the economic strengths of their areas, with funding awarded to the best proposals. The public-private partnerships are expected to create more than 4,800 jobs and 300 new businesses and retain another 2,400 jobs and train about 4,000 workers for careers in high-growth industries, according to estimates by grantees. Each of the 20 awards average about $1.8 million per project, and winning clusters will contribute another $13 million in total matching funds. ...



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