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Financial Services Update – June 24, 2011

CFPB Announces Regulatory Targets

On Thursday, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) outlined six areas that could be subject to its supervision. The six areas include debt collection; consumer reporting; consumer credit; money transmitting/check cashing; prepaid cards; and debt consolidation. The Bureau also identified automobile loans and personal loans as large sectors that could fall under its supervision. However, the Bureau is prevented from regulating non-bank firms until it has a Senate-confirmed director, a position that will be difficult to fill given Senate Republicans’ pledge to block anyone President Obama nominates for the job. Republicans have said they will block the nomination unless changes are made to the agency’s structure, including making it a five-member commission rather than headed by a single director. The CFPB is expected to officially begin operations in July.

Cantor Pulls out of Biden Debt Limit Negotiations

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that he was withdrawing from Vice President Biden’s debt limit negotiations over whether tax increases should be included in the deal. The only other Republican in the group, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), also withdrew citing the President’s involvement as the only remedy to break the logjam. The suspension of the group’s efforts could mark the start of the final stage of negotiations, which most participants had long assumed would be concluded by the President, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). While it had been assumed that the Congressional leaders and the President would ultimately have to strike the final deal, the Biden talks were expected to extend at least through the end of June.

Greece Secures Second Bailout

On Friday, Prime Minister George Papandreou announced that Greece had secured a second bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund totaling $156.83 billion. For Greece to receive the money, the country’s parliament must approve next week a multi-billion dollar austerity package that includes higher taxes and cuts to government programs.

White House Announces Release from Oil Reserve

On Thursday, President Obama announced the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would release 30 million barrels of oil. The decision sparked a plunge in crude oil prices in the U.S. and Europe. According to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the oil will be released over the next 30 days and constitutes half of the 60 million barrels that the nations in the International Energy Agency plan to bring to market. Chu also said that the Energy Department estimates that the conflict in Libya has caused a loss of roughly 1.5 million barrels per day from global oil markets.

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Financial Services Update – Issue 7

Financial Services Update – Issue 7

February 27, 2010

Authored by: Matt Jessee

Senate Set to Begin Debate on New Jobs Bill

Soon after Senate passage of the first “jobs” bill, on Friday it was announced that the Senate had reached an agreement to begin consideration of a second “jobs” bill on Monday, March 1.  Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is expected to offer a substitute amendment which will include the remaining items from the original Baucus/Grassley bill, namely extensions to tax credits, pensions amortization, unemployment insurance, COBRA, Small Business Administration stimulus extensions, state Medicaid aid, satellite television reauthorization, and a delay of cuts to physicians’ Medicare reimbursements.

White House Unveils New Rules on Financial Advisors

On Friday, Vice President Biden unveiled the annual report of the Middle Class Task Force which included new proposals designed to shield workers from potential conflicts of interest by financial advisers.  Under the proposed rule, financial advisers may give advice only if they do not receive a commission for directing investments to funds with which they are affiliated.  The rules will be available for public comment until May 5. The Department of Labor will then issue a final rule, which would apply to all financial institutions that both provide investment options such as 401(k)s to employers and offer financial advice to their employees

Geithner Pushes for Consumer Protection in Financial Reform Legislation

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with leading executives from the Chamber of Commerce, Private Equity Council, Financial Services Roundtable, American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers Association, Financial Services Forum, Managed Funds Association and SIFMA regarding the financial regulatory reform legislation currently pending in Congress.  According to sources, Geithner reiterated that the Administration’s strong support fora new consumer protection entity with rulemaking and enforcement authority in the legislation. However, sources also said Geithner is no longer insisting on the creation of a stand-alone consumer protection agency and is open to having the new consumer regulator inside the Treasury Department.  In response to this shift, the Chamber of Commerce announced this week it would oppose the new agency whether it becomes a stand-alone entity or if it is within an existing department.

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