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Showing posts with the label House Financial Services Committee

Geithner on the Hill

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before the House Financial Services Committee this morning. Most of the questioning concerned the growing LIBOR scandal. 
Representative Mel Watt noted the declining number of African American car dealers and asked if there was anything Treasury could do, given its large holding of GM stock, to reverse this situation. Rather than giving a solution, the Secretary promised to get back to him. 

We suggested a solution as far back as 2008: there is nothing to stop Treasury from filing a shareholder resolution with GM on the matter. 

On LIBOR, Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ) noted that "Geithner had four years, and meeting after meeting, to bring the LIBOR issue to Congress' attention and it just wasn't done."
Mr. Geithner appeared unflapped. He has, after all, done this before. He noted, in prepared remarks, that “The American financial system has regained its footing since the crisis of a few years ago but is still thre…

Bernanke on the Hill

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Chairman of the Fed Benjamin Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee today. In his prepared remarks he hewed closely to his July 17th testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.
A surprising number of questions focused on the LIBOR scandal. One question in particular seemed to go to the heart of the matter. A Committee member read a transcript of a conversation between a Barclay's trader and a staff member at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. The transcript seemed to show the trader acknowledging his complicity in the commission of fraud. The Congressman then read the definition of fraud to the Chairman. This matched what the transcript revealed.

The Committee member then asked the Chairman if he thought this combination was enough to justify a charge of fraud against Barclays. The Chairman was, predictably, reluctant to agree.

Fiscal cliffs, twists and sequesters are irrelevant in the face of this type of clearly defined unethical behavior. 

It is this typ…

Hearing on the Community and Consumer Advocates' Perspectives on the Obama Administration's Financial Regulatory Reform Proposals(Jui-Kai Li)

On July 16th , the Full committee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on community and consumer advocates’ perspectives on the Obama administration’s financial regulatory reform proposals. Testifying were Joseph L. Flatley- Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Oliver Ireland- Morrison & Foerster LLP, Edmund Mierzwinski-U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza, Travis Plunkett-Consumer Federation of America, John Taylor- National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Nancy Zirkin- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

In his opening statement, Chairman Barney Frank replied to yesterday’s arguments on the “plain vanilla” mortgages. There were concerns that “plain vanilla” mortgage product would have the impact of reducing consumer choice and hurt financial innovations. He explained that the innovations are important. But, innovations should be in the context of regulations. He claimed that although excessive regula…

Hearing on the Banking Industry Perspectives on the Obama Administration’s Financial Regulatory Reform Proposals(Jui-Kai Li)

On July 15th , the Full committee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the banking industry perspectives on the Obama administration’s financial regulatory reform proposals. Testifying were Steve Bartlett-Financial Services Roundtable, John A. Courson- Mortgage Bankers Association, Chris Stinebert- American Financial Services Association, Steven I. Zeisel- Consumer Bankers Association, Professor Todd J. Zywicki- George Mason University, Denise M. Leonard- National Association of Mortgage Brokers, Edward L. Yingling- American Bankers Association, R. Michael S. Menzies- Independent Community Bankers of America.

In his opening statement, Chairman Barney Frank explained that there are lots of opinions and complaints with regard to the Obama administration’s financial regulatory reform proposals. He believes that these opinions and complaints are important during the establishment of this new regulation. He anticipated today’s discussion from the banking industry pers…

Hearing on the Administration’s Proposal to Regulate the Over-the-Counter Derivatives Market (William Cunningham, Jui-Kai Li, Hsiu-Jui Chang)

At 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 10, 2009, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, the Full Committee of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Financial Services Committee conducted a hearing titled "A Review of the Administration’s Proposal to Regulate the Over-the-Counter Derivatives Market." Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury, was the only witness.

The hearing began with a consideration of the risk to taxpayers from the over the counter derivatives market. According to Wikipedia,

"Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives are contracts that are traded (and privately negotiated) directly between two parties, without going through an exchange or other intermediary. The OTC derivative market is the largest market for derivatives, and is largely unregulated with respect to disclosure of information between the parties, since the OTC market is made up of banks and other highly sophisticated parties, such as hedge funds. According to the Bank fo…

Hedge Funds and the Financial Marketplace (E.M. Chang)

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing titled, “Hedge Funds and the Financial Market” on Thursday, November 13, 2008. The hearing examined systemic risks to financial markets posed by hedge funds and considered regulatory and tax reform proposals. Among the topics, the panels discussed three major issues:
1. What role have hedge funds played in our current financial crisis?
2. Do hedge funds pose a systemic risk to the financial system?
3. What level of government oversight and regulation is appropriate?

Over the last decade, hedge fund holdings reportedly increased five-fold, to more than $2 trillion. The role of the hedge fund industry in the current financial system is becoming more important given this dramatic growth trend. However, hedge funds are virtually unregulated, and not required to report any information on their holdings, their leverage, or their strategies to any government agency. The opacity and non-transparen…

Cash for Trash (Revised)

President George W. Bush last week laid out a $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan ostensibly aiming at preserving the nation’s overall economy. Dubbed "Cash for Trash,” the plan has sparked a sharp debate. The House Financial Services Committee held a public hearing titled, “The Future of Financial Services: Exploring Solutions for the Market Crisis” on Wednesday, September 24th at Rayburn House Office Building. This was a legislative hearing to examine the Bush Administration’s financial services proposal. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explained the proposal at the hearing.

The hearing started at noon and included two parts. At the beginning, members of the Committee were given an opportunity to note their concerns and to comment on the bailout plan. Most did not endorse the plan: they thought it would be a mistake to rush such a huge expenditure, one that would boost the national debt to over 70% of GDP.

Committee members addre…

Preserving Minority Banks

House Financial Services Committee
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
Hearing on Preserving Minority Banks

On October 30, 2007, the House held a hearing on Minority Banks. While we did not testify, the ranking Republican member, Representative Gary Miller (CA), read extensive portions of our research into the record.

We have called for the development of tools to get capital into the best of these institutions, those with solid financial performance and outstanding performance in helping to meet community credit needs.