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Inside Washington (11/17/2009)
* WASHINGTON (11/18/09)--Angela Sanders has been named staff assistant to National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz. Sanders previously served as executive assistant to PNC Bank. She has 20 years of administrative assistant experience in the government public, private and non-profit sector ... * WASHINGTON (11/18/09)--The Federal Reserve Board Monday announced proposed rules that would restrict the fees and expiration dates on gift cards. The rules would protect consumers from unexpected costs and would require that conditions on gift cards be clearly stated. The rules would prohibit inactivity and services fees on gift cards unless there has been at least one year of inactivity, and the consumer is given clear disclosures about the fees. Expiration dates for the cards must be five years after the date of issuance, or five years after the date when the funds were last loaded. The rules generally cover retail gift cards and network-branded gift cards. The rules are issued under Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers) to implement the gift card provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosures Act of 2009 ... * WASHINGTON (11/18/09)--The Federal Reserve Board’s independence will likely be debated under draft legislation introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) last week. Dodd’s proposal aims to improve governance at the banks by requiring chairmen of the 12 regional banks to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but industry critics said the requirement could make the financial system increasingly political while slowing financial reform efforts (American Banker Nov. 17). Dodd said he doesn’t like the way presidents are currently selected because it’s “contradictory.” During an interview last week with CNBC, Dodd said he would like the Senate to confirm Fed bank chairmen the way the Fed confirms governors. David Berenbaum, executive vice president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said the public would have more confidence in the central bank if it was clear of conflicts of interest ... * WASHINGTON (11/18/09)--Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Monday to clarify which companies would pay into a fund intended to resolve systemically important institutions (American Banker Nov. 17). The House Financial Services Committee is currently considering legislation to require financial companies with $10 billion or more in assets to pay into a fund. Garrett requested an answer from Geithner by the end of the week ... * WASHINGTON (11/18/09)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said he does not support breaking up large financial institutions (American Banker Nov. 17). During a speech in New York, Bernanke dismissed a suggestion by Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, to break up big banks. Simply making banks smaller would not work because banks can be “systemically critical even if they are somewhat smaller” or if they are connected with out banks. There may be situations in which a regulator would force an institution to cut back on commercial banking activities, but it’s difficult to draw a “bright line,” he added ...


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