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Inside Washington (11/29/2007)
* WASHINGTON (11/30/07)—The House Financial Services subcommittee on housing and community opportunity announced it will conduct a Dec. 5 hearing on the affordable housing needs of the country’s low-income veterans. A witness list has not yet been made publicly available… * WASHINGTON (11/30/07)—House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) criticized the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) decision to restrict shareholder access to company proxies. Frank said the result of the SEC’s vote would be “a step backward for shareholders, as evidenced in part by the thousands of comments received in opposition to the rule, primarily from those representing shareholder interests.” Frank said the approved amendments to the SEC’s proxy rules will leave shareholders with “inadequate recourse to influence insular boards that are unresponsive to shareholder concerns, by effectively precluding shareholders from proposing changes to director election procedures”… * WASHINGTON (11/30/07)--Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was scheduled to meet with Washington Mutual Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp., and four thrift and banking representatives Thursday to agree on a plan that would help subprime borrowers refinance adjustable-rate mortgages. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, Office of Thrift Supervision Director John Reich, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and Federal Reserve Board Gov. Randall Kroszner also were expected to attend Paulson’s meeting (American Banker Nov. 29). Paulson's work to solidify a federal plan for mortgage modifications comes as individual states are unveiling their plans. Next week, the California Assembly is scheduled to reveal its initiatives to change the state's lending process. One suggestion, made by California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee Chairman Ted Lieu (D-El Segundo), is to require lenders to report their loan modification data each month. If federal regulators reach a consensus at Thursday's meeting, industry representatives anticipate that Paulson could announce the plan at a housing conference Monday ... * WASHINGTON (11/30/07)--Banks still fear that borrowing from the Federal Reserve Board’s discount window could be construed as accessing emergency loans for troubled financial institutions, Donald Kohn, central bank vice chairman, said Wednesday (American Banker Nov. 29). The Fed needs to think about how its liquidity facilities can be effective despite stress in the financial markets, he said. His speech, given before the Council on Foreign Relations, signaled that the central bank may cut interest rates further at its next meeting Dec. 11 … * WASHINGTON (11/30/07)--Leadership elections have been scheduled for Dec. 6 to replace Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, who announced his resignation this week (CongressDaily PM Nov. 28). Candidates include Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.), Republican conference chairman; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Republican Policy Committee chairwoman; Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) have also expressed interest in running …


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