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Showing posts from December, 2007

Minority Bank Regulation (From the Viewpoints section of the American Banker Newspaper, 12/28/07)

On October 30, 2007, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing to review “the role of minority-owned financial institutions.” My organization has been researching women- and minority-owned banks and thrifts since 1989. We feel minority banks, specifically African-American banks, need one thing and one thing only: Capital.That regulators do not recognize this is indicative of their decidedly lax approach to the sector. It also suggests that they may not be meeting their responsibilities under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, which requires regulators to take steps to preserve minority banks. Banking is a field that depends upon precise numerical data, but federal banking regulators do not have a valid estimate of the number of minority banks in the U.S. According to our data, by June, 2007, there were 225 minority owned banks and thrifts in the U.S., up from 190 at the end of 2005. The …

New Internet Tool With Instant Comparisons of Executive Pay

According to the SEC:

"Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox today launched the first-ever online tool that enables investors to easily and instantly compare what 500 of the largest American companies are paying their top executives. The new database highlights the power of interactive data to transform financial disclosure.The Executive Compensation Reader - available today on the SEC's Web site at http://www.sec.gov/xbrl - builds on the Commission's new requirements that went into effect earlier this year to dramatically enhance clarity and completeness of executive compensation disclosure."

"Framework" to Help Prevent Foreclosures

We have been attempting to review the Bush Administration's plan to help stop foreclosures. We have not been able to find coherent, consistent documentation, thus we believe there is no plan. There is, however, a public relations effort designed to feign concern.

According to the Jacksonville Business Journal,

"Nationwide, nearly 1.1 million homes entered the foreclosure process so far this year, up 93 percent from the 559,750 foreclosures filed during the same period last year. About 526,936, or more than six out of every 1,000 households in the United States, were repossessed by banks or lenders during the first 11 months of the year, up 41 percent from the same time last year."

HUD notes that the FHA Secure Plan " has helped 33,000 homeowners prevent foreclosure in three months; More than 50,000 to be helped by end of year. " Thus 33,0000/1,100,000 or three percent of homeowners in foreclosure have been helped. That is three out of one hundred. Even under the …

The SEC threads the needle

We note efforts by the SEC to "thread the needle" after approving what many had considered restrictive Proxy Access policies. (Our viewpoint is that things could have been worse, that Mr. Cox is still, by far, the most competent Bush appointee, and that there is still room for negotiation.) Consider the following:
On December 5th, the "SEC's Office of Interactive Disclosure Urges Public Comment as Interactive Data Moves Closer to Reality for Investors" This is tied to efforts to create electronic shareholder forums. In the run up to the Proxy Access vote, many missed the fact that the SEC created, in October, an "Office of Interactive Disclosure..to lead the transformation to interactive financial reporting by public companies. A free taxonomy review tool is publicly available on the Internet at http://usgaap.xbrl.us along with other information."On December 6th, "The Securities and Exchange Commission announced a record $468 million settled enfor…