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Inside Washington (10/01/2009)
* WASHINGTON (10/2/09)--Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) criticized banking industry representatives during a House Financial Services Committee hearing Wednesday, saying that they were preventing him from improving a bill that would create a consumer protection agency. Watt, chair of the monetary policy subcommittee, has been viewed as an ally to the banking industry--which has balked at the idea of such an agency (American Banker Oct. 1). At Wednesday’s meeting, Watt accused the bankers of trying to kill the bill instead of improving it. The bankers’ approach to the bill is “exasperating” and change in the financial services industry is needed, Watt said. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is drafting the bill that would create such an agency, said he is confident the legislation would pass. Watt and other lawmakers, including Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), have indicated they would like to tailor the agency’s proposed powers. Two-thirds of subprime mortgages were originated by nonbank lenders, and because of that, Bean has questioned whether the agency should focus on subprime mortgages ... * WASHINGTON (10/2/09)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Michael Fryzel recently visited Great Lakes CU in North Chicago.
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He toured the credit union and discussed credit union issues with Vikki Kaiser, Great Lakes CEO. “It is encouraging to see the efforts being made to meet the financial needs of their members,” Fryzel said. Great Lakes CU has $595 million in assets. From left are: Lorraine Kost, senior vice president of administration; Lee Piekarz, board chair; Kevin Bogac, senior vice president of information systems; Robert Green, director; Kaiser; Fryzel; Yvonne Bailey, vice president of marketing and planning; Bertine Nixon, director; and Kamil Sakici, senior vice president and chief financial officer. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Administration) ... * WASHINGTON (10/2/09)--Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Board chairman, told lawmakers Thursday that the Fed should regulate the nation’s largest financial institutions. The Fed’s experience and power make it well-suited to be a consolidated supervisor for large institutions, Bernanke said. The responsibility for monitoring risk should be given to a council of regulators, including agencies that have power over various financial companies, he said. The council could monitor risks affecting investment banks, commercial and mortgage lenders, and pension and hedge funds (The New York Times Oct. 2). Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed skepticism about giving the Fed more power. Some have said they want to reduce the central bank’s power ...

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