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Inside Washington (12/07/2011)
  • WASHINGTON (12/8/11)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke publicly disputed media reports that portray the Federal Reserve helping big banks at the expense of the American public during the 2008 financial crisis (American Banker Dec. 7). In letters to the congressional banking committees, Bernanke disclosed a four-page memo distributed to Fed employees refuting a number of facts in recent articles by Bloomberg News and other media outlets. "There have been a series of recent articles--one just last week--concerning the Federal Reserve's emergency lending activities during the financial crisis," Bernanke wrote in the letter. "The articles have largely repeated the same information in different formats and have contained a variety of egregious errors and mistakes." Although the memo did not name Bloomberg specifically, it offered details of a Nov. 27 Bloomberg Markets Magazine article that claimed big banks had received $13 billion of income after the Fed had committed $7.7 trillion in guarantees and lending before March 2009. The central bank never provided a lending program that was not disclosed to the public or Congress, according to the memo. Bloomberg stands by its reporting in the article, a company spokesman said …
  • WASHINGTON (12/8/11)--House members showed support Tuesday for measures to bar lawmakers from profiting on inside knowledge, but they differed on what approach that ban should take (American Banker Dec. 7). The agreement comes in the wake of a Nov. 13 60 Minutes report about congressional representatives from both political parties making trades after receiving non-public information (News Now Nov. 21). The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, the bill with the most support, would expressly bar members from making trades based on nonpublic knowledge regarding legislative activity, strengthen disclosure rules for certain trades, prohibit congressional staffers from disclosing nonpublic information about legislation that could be used by traders, and require lobbying registration for firms that gather political intelligence for investors. Other bills would require lawmakers to place their investments in a blind trust …
  • WASHINGTON (12/8/11)--The Office of the Inspector General at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. confirmed that the office is involved in an investigation into the premature and seemingly unauthorized release of a plan to implement the so-called Volcker Rule, which, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, would restrict proprietary trading in which banks could engage (American Banker Dec. 7). During a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said it has been a struggle for regulators to effectively implement a number of Dodd-Frank rules, most notably the Volcker Rule.  He said those efforts specifically have been marked by "misconduct, ambiguity, and interagency discord" …
  • WASHINGTON (12/8/11)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency has appointed Manoj K. Singh as principal examiner for risk in charge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Singh most recently worked as a special adviser with The Collingwood Group, a Washington-based consulting firm (American Banker Dec. 7). From 2006 to July he worked at Freddie Mac, where he last served as senior vice president of pricing and securitization on the single-family side of the business. He was previously senior vice president of market risk management …
  • WASHINGTON (12/8/11)--The Office of the Inspector General at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. confirmed that the office is involved in an investigation into the premature and seemingly unauthorized release of a plan to implement the so-called Volcker Rule, which, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, would restrict proprietary trading in which banks could engage (American Banker Dec. 7). During a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said it has been a struggle for regulators to effectively implement a number of Dodd-Frank rules, most notably the Volcker Rule.  He said those efforts specifically have been marked by "misconduct, ambiguity, and interagency discord" …


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