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Inside Washington (11/30/2011)
  • WASHINGTON (12/1/11)--A Nov. 22 letter from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) requested detailed spending data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The letter asks for an account of the CFPB's spending to date and plans for funds it has received but not yet spent (American Banker Nov. 30). The bureau has requested $28 million more from the Federal Reserve for fiscal year 2011, a 21% increase from the $142 million budget estimated by the White House, according to the letter. Among the spending details requested in the letter are transfers from the Fed; expenses listed by services, department, office and subdivision of the bureau; number of positions filled by quarter and by pay band; and  detailed salary information and organizational charts. The letter also requests a detailed construction and renovation budget for the CFPB's future offices …
  • WASHINGTON (12/1/11)--The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Tuesday proposed a rule to remove references to credit ratings from OCC regulations and related guidance to assist national banks and federal savings associations in meeting due-diligence requirements in assessing credit risk for portfolio investments. The Dodd-Frank Act requires regulators to remove references in rules to credit ratings, and substitute them with an alternative standard. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) adopted a similar proposal in February that would replace or remove references to credit ratings in NCUA regulations (News Now Feb. 18). The NCUA's proposal would affect credit rating references for investments, counterparty transactions and other uses of such references …
  • WASHINGTON (12/1/11)--Janet Yellen, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Tuesday warned that if Congress does not reach an agreement on the federal budget deficit it may place the nation's economy in further peril. The ratio of debt to gross domestic product will continue to edge higher the next decade unless the Congress and the Obama administration are able to agree on a deficit reduction program that is more ambitious than last summer's Budget Control Act, said Yellen, speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. "A failure to put in place a credible plan to address our long-run budget imbalance would expose the U.S. to serious economic costs and risks in the long term and possibly sooner," Yellen said. At the same time, too much fiscal tightening in the near term could harm the economic recovery, she added. "We need, and I believe we have scope for, an approach to fiscal policy that puts in place a well-timed and credible plan to bring deficits down to sustainable levels over the medium and long terms while also addressing the economy's short-term needs," Yellen said …


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