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Banking Archive

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Summers Fight Signals Fractured Trust Between Obama, Senate Democrats

If the failed candidacy of Larry H. Summers to head the Federal Reserve is any indication, the White House’s relationship with Senate Democrats needs a great deal of work at a crucial time for looming fiscal fights.

For Money Market Fund Reforms, the Answer Is Clear | Commentary

Before the August recess, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent U.S. financial regulators questions regarding the influence of the Financial Stability Oversight Council on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent rule-making proposals on money market funds. The committee acted after the SEC released a 700-page document proposing amendments to the rules governing money market funds. We believe that aspects of the SEC’s proposal, which will affect 56 million Americans, are a response to pressure from the FSOC.

Put Fannie, Freddie on the PATH to Property | Commentary

Recently, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would liquidate mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next five years. The bill, called the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act, would restore competitiveness to the home mortgage market and return it to the private sector where it belongs by taking the government out of the business.

Student Loan Rate Crisis Echoes Subprime Mortgage Mess, Masks Deeper Problems for Youth | Commentary

Much discussion in Washington recently has centered around the doubling of interest rates for student loans from 3.4 to 6.8 percent APR and the fact that Congress has been unable (at least for now) to implement a rate freeze. Yet, doesn’t this debate simply mask the wider problem of higher education — namely that as the cost of tuition continues to rise, the employment value of graduation simultaneously declines?

House GOP Seems Eager to Pass Student Loan Plan

The student loan interest rate legislation approved Wednesday by the Senate appears to face a clear path in the House, where Republicans wasted no time pointing out that the proposal closely mirrors their original plan.

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Student Loan Rates Likely to Double With No Congressional Agreement in Sight

With immigration center stage and a bipartisan agreement to stave off the student loan interest rate hike nowhere in sight, principal negotiators on both sides conceded Tuesday that rates will likely double on July 1 and will need to be fixed retroactively.

Let Credit Unions Continue to Serve Americans | Commentary

Banking industry lobbyists have become increasingly vocal in their attacks on credit unions. Banks have been demanding a repeal of the credit unions tax status, railing against credit unions for filling a void in the market for member business lending, and opposing regulatory reform measures that would grant qualified credit unions access to supplemental capital and improve the safety and soundness of the credit union system.

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'Act of Congress' Details Sausage-Making That Was Dodd-Frank Law

Washington Post veteran Robert Kaiser’s latest book, “Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t,” provides an insider’s view of the making of Congress’ response to the 2008 market crash, the Dodd-Frank Act.

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As Clock Ticks, Senate Plans Student Loan Test Votes

With federal student loan interest rates set to double on July 1, Congress returns from recess facing a familiar partisan brawl with no quick resolution in sight.

Supporting Smart Saving for College | Commentary

The value of a higher education is undeniable — but its sticker price is undeniably too high. Over the past decade, college costs have risen nearly 51 percent. For a family, figuring out how to pay can be quite taxing. Many families rely on financial aid to combat costs, assuming that assistance will come in the form of scholarships and grants that do not have to be repaid. In practice, however, more than half of federal financial aid comes in the form of loans that not only must be repaid but also incur interest.

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Portman Seeks Path to Break Impasse on Cordray Nomination

Sen. Rob Portman has been conferring with Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as part of an effort to clear the way for his Senate confirmation and avert a Democratic threat to use the “nuclear option” to curb filibusters.

Planned Floor Action on Cordray Will Highlight Senate Impasse

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada plans to press for a vote the week of May 20 on the nomination of Richard Cordray as permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in a move that is sure to divide the parties.

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Chambers Prepare for Another Round of Iran Sanctions

After a temporary lull, Congress is gearing up to try to pass new Iran sanctions legislation in the coming months that could severely restrict whole segments of Iranian commerce, including oil. The aim is to have votes in both chambers as early as June, with a consensus bill moving to the president’s desk before the August recess.

Controversy Buoys Political-Intelligence Efforts

A suspicious stock spike might boost legislation that seeks to bring a clandestine class of Wall Street representatives into the daylight.

Five Myths about the Federal Housing Administration | Commentary

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing recently to discuss the Independent Foreclosure Review, the goal of which is to identify borrowers who suffered financial harm because of errors in their foreclosure processing. Congress could have done better by helping families avoid foreclosure in the first place, but how?

Sustaining the Housing Recovery | Commentary

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance recently held a hearing to discuss the fiscal health of the Federal Housing Administration. The same day, President Barack Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget, reflecting the FHA’s growing success these past few years, yet also noting the likely need for it to draw more than $940 million from Treasury to cover losses from high-risk loans they insured during the housing crisis.

White House Nominates Rep. Watt to Housing Agency; GOP Opposition Likely

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would nominate Rep. Melvin Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the initial response from some lawmakers and industry representatives suggests a sharp political fight over his confirmation.

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GOP Raises Heat on CFPB's Cordray

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee questioned Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Tuesday about the agency’s data collection and offered other criticisms about the agency’s structure. But the bigger story may be in who wasn’t there for the hearing.

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Financial Firms Fight CFTC Proposal Designed to Protect Customer Funds

Financial service firms are mounting an aggressive campaign to kill a proposal aimed at protecting customer funds in the event that a brokerage misuses its clients’ money to cover losses.

Arensmeyer: Small Businesses? Sequester Advice Is to Plug Corporate Loopholes

Small businesses are critical to our economy. In fact, they generate, on average, 6 in 10 net new jobs. Fortunately for our leading job creators, Congress took an important step at the beginning of the year to protect them and their core customer base by extending income tax cuts for the middle class, as part of the fiscal-cliff deal. But lawmakers now have another economic obstacle in their path: the sequester — a host of automatic spending cuts that began March 1 because lawmakers couldn’t agree on a deal to reduce the deficit. These across-the-board cuts could have dire consequences for the economy and small employers. But all is not lost. There are still some areas in the budget where Congress can quickly pick up revenue to avoid the bulk of the cuts.

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