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Feb 27, 2014

Fed’s Lockhart sees low interest rates for ‘quite a while’

ATLANTA, Feb 27 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will
probably keep benchmark interest rates low for “quite a while”
even as the U.S. central bank begins to raise them from their
current near-zero level, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told a conference in
Atlanta that he expects the Fed to begin raising rates in
mid-2015 but to do so slowly. Lockhart is a policy centrist
whose views often reflect those at the core of the central bank.

Feb 13, 2014

Financial services, retail groups form cyber partnership

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) – U.S. banks and retail groups
announced on Thursday that they are joining forces to work on
cybersecurity, a sign they might be moving past recent squabbles
over who is to blame for data breaches.

The Financial Services Roundtable, Retail Industry Leaders
Association and several other trade associations said the new
partnership would focus on sharing more information on cyber
threats, developing technology to protect consumers and
discussing areas of disagreement between banks and merchants.

Feb 13, 2014

Financial services, retail groups form cybersecurity partnership

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Banks and retail groups announced on Thursday they are joining together to work on cybersecurity issues, a sign the groups may be moving past recent squabbles over who deserves the blame for data breaches.

The Financial Services Roundtable, Retail Industry Leaders Association and several other trade associations said the new partnership would focus on sharing more information about cyber threats, developing technology to protect consumers and discussing areas of disagreement between banks and merchants.

Feb 12, 2014

Critics claim Volcker rule skirts cost-benefit laws

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Opponents of the Volcker
rule, which bans U.S. banks from proprietary trading, are
exploring whether regulators violated two obscure laws that
require them to study the costs to business, a move that could
lead to a possible legal challenge.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says bank regulators appear to
have failed to meet their obligation to fully study the Volcker
rule’s cost to the financial industry and the economy.

Feb 12, 2014

U.S. lawmakers: Fed board should vote on big enforcement actions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers said in a letter on Tuesday that the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors should have to sign off on major enforcement actions against banks.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland said in the letter to Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the board only voted on 11 of about 1,000 enforcement actions taken during the last 10 years. They cited a recent letter they received from Yellen’s predecessor, Ben Bernanke.

Feb 6, 2014

U.S. regulator calls for better data-breach disclosures

WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A top U.S. financial regulator
on Thursday told lawmakers that retailers and other companies
that deal with customer payments should have the same obligation
as banks to report data breaches.

The call for a uniform disclosure regime comes after cyber
criminals managed to pull off a massive theft of customer data
from retailer Target Corp during the holiday shopping
season in late 2013.

Feb 4, 2014

U.S. regulators coordinating Volcker implementation -SEC chair

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – U.S. financial regulators have
formed a working group to coordinate implementation of the
Volcker rule, which bans banks from proprietary trading, top
regulatory officials plan to tell lawmakers on Wednesday.

The group has already met to discuss industry questions
about the controversial rule and plans to meet again later this
week, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White
said in remarks prepared for delivery during a hearing in the
U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Jan 31, 2014

U.S. cities criticize treatment of munis in bank liquidity plan

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Leaders of U.S. cities and
states criticized bank regulators’ proposal to block banks from
counting municipal debt toward buffers of easy-to-sell assets
they will have to hold in case of a credit crunch.

The proposed rules, which require banks to hold enough
liquid assets to meet cash needs for 30 days, are a key portion
of an international plan to make banks safer after the 2007-2009
financial crisis.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. Treasury research unit director defends study on asset managers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of a U.S. Treasury Department research unit on Wednesday told lawmakers that a controversial September report was meant to “shine a spotlight” on potential risks of asset managers, not prompt tougher regulation of specific firms.

Richard Berner, director of the Office of Financial Research, sought to answer some lawmakers’ critiques of the report, which they said misinterpreted aspects of asset managers’ activities. Some industry groups said the office did not do enough to incorporate their views in the report.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. agency targets mortgage lender over kickback claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer financial watchdog said on Wednesday it was seeking fines against PHH Corp and repayment to consumers over allegations that the mortgage lender steered borrowers to insurers from which it took kickbacks.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said lenders sometimes require mortgage insurance for large loans to protect themselves if the borrower defaults. Lenders generally choose the insurers, which often buy secondary insurance, or reinsurance, to reduce some of their own risk.