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Inside Washington (12/29/2009)
* WASHINGTON (12/30/09)--On Monday, the Federal Reserve Board issued a proposal indicating that it is moving ahead with efforts to scale back the aid it infused into the economy during the peak of the financial crisis. The proposal would allow banks to place their reserves in the Fed. Fed officials worry that if banks have too much cash tied in their reserves, there might be a credit boom and inflation. However, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said inflation is not a near-term concern (Associated Press Dec. 28). Industry observers expect the investments to have a maturity of one to six months, with an interest rate set through auctions. Banks would not be able to withdraw the funds until the deposits mature ... * WASHINGTON (12/30/09)--Community banks are lobbying the Federal Reserve Board to exempt them from new compensation guidance designed to help financial institutions establish appropriate pay practices. The Fed’s guidance would subject the nation’s 28 largest banks to a “horizontal review” where their pay packages would be compared with those of other firms. Large banks whose compensation practices differ from the norm would be closely analyzed. However, community banks’ compensation would be reviewed as a part of the institutions’ exam processes. Community banks argue that the guidance goes too far because they did not contribute to the current financial crisis. Smaller banks are already exempt from a regulatory reform bill that passed the House in December. Banks with less than $10 million in assets would not be supervised from the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency ...


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