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Financial Services Update – January 14, 2011

Consumer Products Safety Commission Announces Complaints Database

On Monday, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that for the first time the Agency will make public thousands of complaints it receives each year about safety problems with consumer products. The database, which was authorized in 2008 consumer product safety legislation, will be launched online in March. Until now, the only way for consumers to access safety complaints has been to file a public records request with the CPSC. The agency was then required by law to consult with the manufacturer before releasing information about their products, and the company could protest or sue to stop disclosure. The database, which is scheduled to be launched March 11, will be available at www.saferproducts.gov.

TARP Inspector General Criticizes Citi Bailout

On Thursday, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, issued a report saying that Citigroup is still too big to be allowed to fail and could make future bailouts of big banks a necessity. The Treasury Department disputed part of the report’s conclusion in comments included in the report, saying that the Dodd-Frank law “provides the federal government with important tools that it did not have in the fall of 2008, which will be critical in addressing future crises.” The report now goes to the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, however no specific action is required.

Bernanke Predicts 3% to 4% Economic Expansion

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the U.S. economy should expand at a rate of 3% to 4% in 2011. The Fed’s most recent forecast, released in November, was that the U.S. economy would grow between 3.0% and 3.6% in 2011 after expanding by 2.5% in 2010. Bernanke remarks, which occurred before a small business forum sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, also included his prediction that the credit crunch is easing and small business should see greater access to capital in 2010. Bernanke appeared along with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

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If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, please contact

Matt Jessee, Policy Advisor
1 314 259 2463

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Financial Services Update Issue 13

Financial Services Update Issue 13

April 14, 2010

Authored by: Matt Jessee

Geithner Trip to India and China

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with top Hong Kong, Beijing, and Indian finance officials during his week long trip through Asia which focused on trade and monetary matters. Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Friday that the Chinese government was preparing to announce that it will allow its currency to rise with increased volatility. China’s currency, known as the renminbi or yuan, has been pegged at a nearly fixed rate to the dollar for many years. While an official announcement on China’s currency policy may be delayed, the Times reported that China’s central bank appears to have prevailed within the Chinese governmental leadership for a stronger but more flexible currency. Geithner has refrained from publicly commenting about the currency issue in advance of his meetings in Beijing.

 Senate Financial Regulatory Reform Bill

Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) offered to Chairman Chris Dodd a new draft compromise on the consumer protection title of the financial reform bill this week, reflecting a possible shift in the Republican position on the issue. According to sources close to Shelby, the new draft is much closer to the language Dodd and other Democrats have sought, which gives much stronger consumer protection authority to the new agency. However, the new Shelby language is said to also give a new council of regulators the power to veto rules from the agency. Shelby’s proposed compromise may reflect Republicans’ increasing willingness to appear amenable to financial reform.

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