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NEWS from the front lines
At the CUNA GAC conference, I picked up a free month subscription to
_American Banker_, the trade rag. It's one of those publications that has
good industry news and gossip.
Here's a transcribed selection of what caught my eye.
++++Clinton Administration to Support Repeal of Glass-Steagall Act.++++
The repeal would allow the biggest banks to acquire securities firms,
insurance companies, or other types of financial services providers. The
repeal is being opposed by securities firms and insurance compainies, which
fear greater competition from large banks. There are safety and soundness
issues, which is why this law was enacted in the Depression Era. Banks that
can issue securities can bolster bad loans by "selling" the loan to
securities investors. The Independent Bankers Association of America (IBAA)
says that small banks would not gain anything from being freed up to offer
new services and products. Small banks would be at a competitive
++++Fannie Mae Faces Fire From Housing Group on Tax Exemptions++++
Boston based Union Neighborhood Assistance Corp is palnning a national
campaign of demonstrations aimed at fighting state and local income-tax
exemptions and other privileges conferred on the Federal National Mortgage
Association (Fannie Mae) by Congress. The group says the key to low-income
lending is more flexible standards at Fannie Mae. "The real player behind
the scenes on mortgage-lending practices is Fannie Mae." The Boston
Activist group is known for bare-knuckle tactics and has been called "urban
++++ Minority-Bank CRA Exemption Sought++++
West Coast minority bankers, particularly Asian Banks, are looking for an
exemption from CRA. They have been repeatedly criticized by federal
regulators for catering too exclusively to their own ethnic group.
++++ Federal Home Loan Bank Director Arrested at Protest++++
Elena Hanggi, a director of the Dalls Federal Home Loan Bank was arrested
with others after disrupting a congressional hearing of the Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA). She chanted "Save CRA" and "No Safe Harbor".
++++Rep Sonny Bono attacks CRA ++++
Bono asks bankers, "How do we do this, I want to validate you".
++++Justice Dept to begin training Bank Examiners on Fair Lending - Soon ++++
Deval Patrick, Asst Attorney General, will no longer allow Justice Dept to
investigate fair lending enforcement referrals that civil rights groups
make. Those issues will be limited to bank regulators. Instead, Justice
will working on several question-and-answer sheets to help line-level examiners.
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