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Inside Washington (10/01/2010)
* WASHINGTON (10/4/10)--During a hearing Thursday, lawmakers said they were concerned that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would try and enforce new rules without a director confirmed by the Senate (American Banker Oct. 1). Such a move would be illegal, according to members of the Senate Banking Committee. The bureau’s temporary leader, Elizabeth Warren, will serve as a special adviser to President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and help set up the new agency. Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury Secretary, said that the bureau can work on disclosure rules. The bureau has until July 21, 2012, to write new mortgage disclosure standards. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said he thinks the bureau is in danger because some will look to get rid of it after midterm elections. It will be easier to eliminate the bureau if it doesn’t get off to a strong start and demonstrated its value, he said ... * WASHINGTON (10/4/10)--The Financial Stability Oversight Council held its first meeting Friday, and lawmakers have expressed their doubts about what it can accomplish. The council aims to provide comprehensive oversight over the stability of the nation’s financial system. Some lawmakers’ concerns include interagency disagreements, and whether members could agree on the council’s top priorities. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) asked regulators what areas of conflict have arisen so far and what areas of conflict regulators anticipate. Regulators told Congress the council is getting along fine. Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury Secretary, said he didn’t think there were disagreements among council members. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed, saying that he didn’t forsee any controversies. However, on Sept. 27, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency protested the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s move to complete its own securitization rule ahead of requirements mandated by the regulatory reform bill. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also was concerned about the action, said The Wall Street Journal (American Banker Oct. 1). Debbie Matz, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, participated in the council’s first meeting ... * WASHINGTON (10/4/10)--The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could cost less than estimated, according to The New York Times (Sept. 30). TARP, which was a $700 billion lifeline to banks, auto companies and insurers, is set to expire Sunday and could turn taxpayers a profit, the newspaper added. On Thursday, the government said it had started negotiating a plan with American International Group to repay taxpayers for its $70 billion rescue. The Treasury committed $470 billion and disbursed $387 billion for TARP. Projected TARP losses are less than $50 billion. In mid-2009, the program was projected to lose $341 billion. The Congressional Budget Office reduced its estimate for loss to $66 billion ... * WASHINGTON (10/4/10)--CORRECTION: A Sept. 17 story on the National Credit Union Administration’s action to allow approved federal credit unions to offer short-term, small amount (STS) loans to their members contained an error. A sentence regarding loan payments through payroll deduction should have read: Federal credit unions are required to set a cap of 20% of net worth on the aggregate dollar amount of loans outstanding, and will not be permitted to require loan payment via member payroll deduction ...


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