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Inside Washington (03/14/2008)

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* WASHINGTON (3/17/08)--Lawmakers are divided by party lines regarding legislation to fix credit card rules (American Banker March 14). Democrats support a House Financial Services Committee bill by Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), which would target loose credit card practices, while Republicans want to see if the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation Z rewrite will work. In the middle of the divide are the conservative Democrats, who do not know whether they should support Frank and Maloney’s bill--which would require improved disclosures and ban universal default. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) said the proposal should not get in the way of the Regulation Z overhaul, while Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School professor, said the rules should not be left to regulators because they have not done their job ... * WASHINGTON (3/17/08)--The dismissal of a 2004 lawsuit involving MasterCard and Visa has been upheld in a federal appeals court. A group of merchants charged that the credit card companies and member banks set interchange fees that violate antitrust laws (American Banker March 14). The suit was originally dismissed in July 2005 ... * WASHINGTON (3/17/08)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) voted Friday to maintain the assessment rates charged to insured banks and savings associations for 2008. Most institutions will be charged between 5 and 7 basis points. Expected insured deposit growth is between 3% and 4% in 2008 and 2009 and could reach the board’s objective of 1.25% by the end of this year, the agency said. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund did not charge a premium because the credit union fund ended the year at 1.29% ...