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Jun 4, 2014

Insight – Fed may shun global risk rules banks spent billions to meet

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve may scrap elements of international measures aimed at assessing bank health in favour of imposing its own rules, frustrating bankers who have spent billions of dollars retooling their books to meet global standards.

Fed officials are concerned that parts of a key tool that regulators have developed to measure banks’ riskiness—known as “Basel III capital rules” — are flawed and can be gamed by the companies.

Jun 4, 2014

Fed may shun global risk rules banks spent billions to meet

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve may scrap international measures aimed at assessing bank health in favor of imposing its own rules, frustrating bankers who have spent billions of dollars retooling their books to meet global standards.

Fed officials are concerned that parts of a key tool that regulators have developed to measure banks’ riskiness—known as “Basel III capital rules” — are flawed and can be gamed by the companies.

Jun 3, 2014

Senate confirms Massad as CFTC chairman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Timothy Massad as the new chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and approved two others as commissioners, filling a leadership gap at the nation’s derivatives regulator.

The Senate confirmed Massad and industry veteran Chris Giancarlo by voice vote. Earlier on Tuesday, it voted 48-46 to approve New York lawyer Sharon Bowen.

Jun 3, 2014

U.S. Senate moves toward confirming Bowen to CFTC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate cleared a procedural hurdle on Tuesday to confirming New York lawyer Sharon Bowen as a member of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Senators voted 50-44 to move forward with President Barack Obama’s choice of Bowen for a seat on the commission, which regulates the swaps industry. The Senate still must hold a final confirmation vote, which could come as soon as this afternoon.

Jun 2, 2014

U.S. Fed hires official to oversee AIG, Prudential

WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve has
hired a former state insurance commissioner to help it oversee
non-bank financial firms that a council of regulators identified
for tougher scrutiny last year.

Thomas Sullivan, who led the Connecticut Insurance
Department from 2007 through 2010 and later worked at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Reuters he starts as a
senior adviser on June 9.

Jun 2, 2014

Retailers to ask U.S. Supreme Court to hear ‘swipe fee’ case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of retail merchants will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case involving Federal Reserve rules that allow banks to charge debit card “swipe fees” that retailers view as too high, an attorney for the merchants said on Monday.

“Given how extensive these fees are and how they affect virtually every transaction that takes place in the United States… it’s a serious case that the Supreme Court ought to hear,” said Doug Kantor, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson in Washington who represents the retailers.

Jun 2, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. Fed hires former insurance regulator to help oversee AIG, Prudential

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve has hired a former state insurance commissioner to help it oversee non-bank financial firms that a council of regulators identified for tougher scrutiny last year.

Thomas Sullivan, who led the Connecticut Insurance Department from 2007 through 2010 and later worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, starts as a senior adviser on June 9.

May 29, 2014

BlackRock rejects U.S. concerns on securities lending agreements

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Reuters) – BlackRock pushed back
on Thursday against a U.S. report that raised concerns about
asset managers and securities lending, arguing in a paper sent
to regulators that its activities do not pose outsized risks.

At issue are transactions in which entities lend stocks and
bonds in exchange for cash or other collateral. Mutual funds
often lend securities to hedge funds to generate extra income,
for example.

May 29, 2014

U.S. probing 15 banks, payment processors for fraud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have opened criminal and civil probes into at least 15 banks and payment processors as part of a wide-ranging consumer fraud investigation, according to documents released on Thursday by a congressional committee.

The Justice Department’s investigation, known as “Operation Choke Point,” is more than a year old and aims to crack down on fraud by going after firms that handle and move money for various suspect businesses.

May 28, 2014

U.S. regulator to rotate bank examiners, move some out of firms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. regulatory agency that drew criticism for being too cozy with banks ahead of the 2007-09 financial crisis said on Wednesday that it will now rotate examiners at big U.S. banks every five years, with fewer examiners housed at banks.

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) also said it will devote more resources to multi-bank analyses conducted by special experts, separate from standard exams.